It’s been 20 years since the “Battle in Seattle” when working people and our allies stood up to global corporations and governments to shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings on November 30, 1999. It was a turning point in the debate over unfair trade deals and the impact on workers in the U.S and across the globe.

On that incredible day, I joined more than 40,000 others in Seattle to protest the failed policies of the WTO and we made history doing so.

Despite the loss of more than one million U.S. manufacturing jobs that began five years earlier with the enactment of NAFTA, the voices of working people were being ignored. Global trade officials wanted to push forward with the approval of permanent normalization of trade relations with China. Workers were rightfully concerned that even more of their jobs would be shipped overseas.

So we stood together and let trade negotiators know that we would not quietly stand by and allow them to give into corporate interests while emptying out the American heartland of good jobs. A blue-green alliance, Teamsters and Turtles, joined together in a united front against efforts to undermine regular people who just wanted to support their families and have clean air and safe food.

The effort shut down the opening ceremony of the WTO that day and protests continued for days to come. The Battle in Seattle garnered worldwide attention. It was the beginning of a movement, one that continues to this day.