By ALFREDO ALVARADO
The New York AFSCME Labor and Faith Community Outreach program will be stepping up its outdoor organizing efforts this spring, delivering books to school children, distributing healthy produce in communities and helping to get out the vote for the November election.
Last year, activists from the group distributed more than 4,000 books at the annual Harlem Book Fair and joined forces with the City Harvest Mobil Markets to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need of fresh produce.
“The vision of this program is to support DC 37 members in organizing around common challenges impacting them through the faith- and community-based organizations they belong to,” said DC 37 Field Operations Director Barbara Ingram-Edmonds during the group’s first spring meeting, on April 4, at union headquarters.
At the meeting, the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was honored. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers, who were members of AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is DC 37’s parent union). “He set an example of what servant leadership is about,” said the guest speaker, the Reverend Dr. Patricia Murphy, a member of Local 299.
This spring union activists will join members from District Council 1707 and the Civil Service Employees Association (both AFSCME affiliates) to distribute free books in East Harlem on May 13 and 14 at the Tito Puente Educational Complex, PS 117, on East 109th Street. They also will participate in the annual Youth Sports Expo on June 18 at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn.