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Young people are rising to the occasion and creating change


Continuing the movement towards a more just society with SEIU Rise

By: Shalaya Bryant, HCMI Secretary-Treasurer
May 27, 2016

Shalaya Bryant

When I started to experience injustices at my job, I immediately knew that I had to do something to protect myself and my co-workers. I became a Chief Steward and began working with my local to improve the working conditions.

Working as a steward gave me the opportunity to travel to the 2012 convention and see how the work that we were doing at our local is driving the work of the union. I also witnessed how young people were stepping up in leadership roles to improve the lives of working families.

When I returned home, I visited my President and asked her about getting on the Executive Board. She was supportive of my interest and provided guidance for my growth. Now, I’m in my second term as the Secretary-Treasurer at my local. 

Young people are a part of the labor movement. We feel the constant attacks that wealthy special interest groups are waging on our families and communities. That’s why we are standing up too. 

In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the US workforce. We will make up one-third of the electorate in the 2016 election, giving us a powerful voice for change. We are getting involved and participating in programs like SEIU Rise to support the the movement for racial justice, voting rights, immigration reform and our right to work together within a union. 

SEIU Rise, formally called the Millennial program, is developing the next generation of leaders to change the way youth engage with unions within their communities. We are setting up a path toward leadership that ensures our voices grow stronger and louder.

From 2016 to 2020, SEIU RISE will have 5 program pillars:

  1. Intentional Planning: To be part of planning intentional member development at the local level.
  2. Leadership Development: To provide national member leadership development support. 
  3. Building Committees: To support the creation of committees where locals see fit to unleash the power of leaders and activists.
  4. Connecting to Community: To, where possible, SEIU RISE will connect locals and committees with community efforts to effect change on the local, state, and national level
  5. Providing Mentorship: To guide mentorship opportunities as they arise.

I’m working hard with my brothers and sisters in the movement to create the ways for millions of working people to join together so we can make our lives and communities better. This movement is important to me. The stakes are high for all of us.

Each generation needs to be prepared to pass the baton to the next. When the next generation get’s it, they must keep fighting, listening and working hard. We are an unstoppable force when we work together, across generations, to create the kind of country we all want.