VANCOUVER—An evening event celebrating diversity drew a large crowd at CUPE BC’s 55th annual convention on Thursday.
About 75 delegates poured into the Cypress Room to enjoy snacks and refreshment while the union’s four newly established human rights committees—Indigenous Workers, Workers of Colour, Pink Triangle (LGBTQ2+) Workers and Persons with Disabilities—each made a presentation.
The evening, hosted by CUPE Human Rights representative Cheryl Colborne, began with a territorial acknowledgement by Indigenous Workers alternate DVP Danika Hansen-Hughes and a drumming welcome by James Dawson. For the first presentation, Workers of Colour DVP Michele Alexander screened a pair of videos featuring Martin Luther King Jr: the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln memorial in Washington, D.C. and the 1968 “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech recorded the night before King’s death in Memphis, Tennessee.
Persons with Disabilities followed, with DVP Frank Lee presenting “Ready and Able,” a 2012 video production by CUPE Communications featuring interviews with CUPE disability activists and their personal stories of struggle and advocacy. Indigenous workers followed, with Hansen-Hughes presenting two videos produced by elementary and secondary students in the Surrey public school system, “Show us the Way” and “Hide & Seek”, that reflected pride in cultural tradition.
The evening concluded with Pink Triangle DVP Kathy McMahon introducing a drag performance by Mark Vossberg, aka “The Bovine Miss M.”, who brought the crowd alive with brilliant portrayals of Lily Tomlin’s “Ernestine” the phone operator and the legendary labour icon Rosie the Riveter. Several delegates remained after the evening concluded to pose for photos with “Rosie”.