LOS ANGELES — The Black Workers United Coalition will hold a march and rally from 8 a.m. to noon at Exposition Park Sept. 8 to protest unfair employment practices and worker discrimination of people of color here and throughout the state.
The event is focused around Senate Bill 491 backed by state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, which asks the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing to create an advisory group to study the feasibility of authorizing local governments to enforce the Fair Employment and Housing Act and to report back to the Legislature with an implementation plan and draft legislation.
Khalil Edwards, organizing director for the coalition, said that the march and rally is an expression of unity and support for black communities and issues that impact black workers.
“This is an opportunity for California to say that, ‘we will work hardest, come together and we will continue live up to and work up to the values that we have as a state and be a model for other states across the country,’” Edwards said.
The bill, furthermore, looks to find out how to conduct full implementation of the CDFH and FEHA to work together with state federal and local governments to create an effective solution for allowing this program to move forward.
“The issue of worker discrimination is happening daily. It comes to our desk all of the time,” Edward said.
“From the stories that we here and the complaints that we file, we have 30,000 black workers that are unemployed here in Los Angeles. That’s discrimination in itself.
“There are institutional practices and policies that have attributed to this black jobs crisis. Folks are stuck in low-wage jobs with little opportunity for advancement and are last to be hired and first to be fired.”
Edwards’ group is supporting Bradford’s bill. which is expected to go to the Assembly floor for a final vote this week. It passed out of committee on a 13-0 vote earlier.
The Sept. 8 rally also comes in reaction to many issues that in the new on a local and national scale, Edwards said.
“The rally comes at a time where we hear the horrible news that came out of the Trump administration regarding DACA, the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the military trans ban, and just a wave of attacks of the civil rights in our communities,” he added.
“I think the timing is right for where we are with the moving of this bill and what it means for California and our civil rights and the protections that we must hold here that we must be committed together in fighting for.”