A sea of red shirts filled a hotel ballroom in Charlotte, N.C., today as TNBC delegates celebrated the fourth annual Women’s Day with inspiring speeches, recognitions and a special luncheon. View more photos.

“Today was special because we celebrated Women’s Day,” said Barbara Williams, a member of Local 127 in Quincy, Mass., who drove 12 hours to get to the TNBC conference.

“Females are the backbone. More women should get involved with the Teamsters, especially African-American women. Today was an inspiring day,” said Williams, who works as a senior toll collector for the Massachusetts Turnpike.

This morning’s keynote speaker was the Rev. Fredrica Johnson-Paige, a social worker with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina. She works with families to help them maintain a stable home environment.

Johnson-Paige urged delegates to “take a stand” on the issues that matter most—helping to strengthen families, getting people to vote and taking steps to improve the world.

“Teamster women, remember that you are mobilizing and making a difference not only in your lives but in those around you,” she said.

Several people were recognized for their work. Ferline Buie was honored as the first black woman to serve as Teamsters International Union Vice President At Large.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you,” Buie said. “I love what I do.”

In the afternoon, delegates attended a lunch named in honor of Clara Day, a longtime Teamster leader who helped organize thousands of new members and who was active in the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Delegates were impressed with the day’s activities and presentations.

“The main thing about being a Teamster is unity. Teamster has the word “team” in it,” said Safeyyah Edwards, a member of Local 507 in Cleveland and a Red Cross employee. “To me, the entire conference, including today, focuses on sharing ideas, building relationships and mobilizing and organizing. This is what being in a union is all about. This is how it thrives and how it continues to help the working class.”

This afternoon, the delegates were treated to a remarkable performance by Mzuri Moyo, who portrayed Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights leader, using song and the spoken word.

The performance transfixed the audience.

The message is to make sure you exercise your right to vote.



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