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Photo by Detroit News Archives Originally posted on DetroitNews.com By Rory L. Gamble With images of an insurrection at our nation’s Capitol this month, we all are experiencing a nation divided like none of us has ever seen. We are divided by politics. By opinions. By economics. By beliefs. The cause? Well, that is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that this is a time to look to — and take heart in — the words of President John F. Kennedy and heed the warning of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that healing our nation starts with us. Each of us must personally seek to find what unites us and foster that, bond with it, build upon it, so that we can move forward to a better place for us all.

Detroit - “Hand on Bible, in the seat of the world’s longest democratic republic, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took an oath that carries the hopes and dream

Sisters and Brothers,

This week we will see a new Administration sworn into office in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Jessie Jesson, UAW Local 686

At present, the stock market is doing well and has been since former President Barack Obama’s economic policies -- including the rescue of the domestic auto industry -- brought our nation back from the Great Recession.

“But what good is that if Americans remain in low-wage jobs, can only work part-time or do not have the benefits they need for their families?” Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts asked delegates at the 2018 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference on Wednesday.

Photo by Jessie Jesson, UAW Local 686

About 500 UAW CAP Conference men and women gathered on Wednesday for a breakfast meeting that celebrated women and reminded everyone why this is a pivotal time. 2018 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference on Wednesday.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, the mother of two 14-year-old twins, explained that with the turmoil on Capitol Hill, we must not allow crisis to diminish hope.

“Our democracy, the rule of law and institutions that we depend on are under attack. Your vigilance and passion are the most important tools we have to fight back — every single one of you here today,” said U.S. Congresswoman Norma J. Torres, who represents California's 35th Congressional District, speaking before CAP Conference delegates Monday morning.

Reconnecting with voters, rebuilding the infrastructure to elect labor friendly candidates, and concentrating on state and local offices are just some of the ways to fight back against the corporate control of our government, according to panelists at the 2018 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference.

When Republicans took complete control of the government in 2016, most union members understood that workers would take a hit, but we underestimated just how bad it would be, the UAW’s chief lobbyist told political activists Monday.

From attacks on health care, workers’ rights and immigrants to inaction on NAFTA, a lot of awful things are happening in Washington right now, Josh Nassar, the UAW’s legislative director, told delegates at the 2018 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Conference.

“Today’s General Motors profit sharing, established under the 2015 contract negotiations, recognizes that UAW GM members’ hard work is an essential part of General Motors sales and profits. UAW members at GM negotiated a well-deserved share in the profits of their hard work and sacrifice.”

“I grew up knowing that if you went to an auto plant you would instantly be in the middle class, because the UAW fought for workers to earn wages that would help them support their families, send their children to college and make a difference in their communities,” Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence told CAP delegates.

In an impassioned speech, Lawrence recalled past decades when organized labor paved the way for laws and programs that helped to create economic and social justice for America’s families.

If things are going to change for the better in this country, organized labor must have a seat at the table, Congressman Mark Pocan told UAW CAP delegates Monday. That means that UAW members are essential to what can turn things around on issues such as fair trade, immigration and workers’ rights.

The burden for change falls on organized labor – the people who have fought, marched and put pressure on elected officials for laws and programs that have kept workers safe on their jobs, kept their communities strong and ensured that there was democracy in the workplace.