On Feb. 28, the UFCW International hosted a lunch and panel discussion in celebration of Black History Month. The event, which centered around the theme “Celebrating Black Excellence,” featured UFCW International President Marc Perrone, International Vice President and Director of Civil Rights and Community Action Robin Williams, Tiffany Loftin, national director of the NAACP Youth and College Division, and activist and author Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Williams and Perrone opened the program.
“We celebrate the excellence of blackness,” said Williams. “Even in the face of oppression and slavery, it’s about how we continue to be a part of this great society.”
“This month is about understanding and learning,” said Perrone. “In the last four years, the UFCW has seen a lot of changes. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’ve come a lot farther than four years ago.”
In keeping with the theme “Celebrating Black Excellence,” Loftin and Fletcher talked about black pioneers past and present, including labor activists and inventors, who have made a difference in the labor movement and in history. They also talked about the meaning of Black History Month in relation to the current political and social environment, and what we can all do to create a more just society.
“When people lose their history, they lose everything,” said Fletcher. “They lose their real sense of pride.”
“Our contributions have been amazing,” added Fletcher. “Excellence is not about individuals, it’s about people who stand up and say we are free people and will not be denied.”
“The reason we’re here is to celebrate blackness, not just Black History Month,” said Loftin. “I want everyone to use black excellence to shift our culture so that everyday we celebrate our blackness and Black History Month, we aren’t facing racism. I want to use black excellence for power and to change our culture.”