A panel of Black workers share their testimonials and recommendations to better support Black people in the workforce.



The Southern California Black Worker Hub for Regional Organizing joined the UCLA Center for the Advancement of Racial Equity (CARE) at Work, Black-led community-based organizations, aligned unions and policymakers at a recent Black Worker Summit to engage in solution-oriented discussions of strengthening collaborations that will help build better futures for Black workers.  


Held last month at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, the Black Worker Summit was launched to create a united space where community advocates and stakeholders collaborated for the purpose of finding solutions to creating greater justice and equity for Black working communities. 


During the Summit, a panel of Black workers shared stories about their struggles with employment and the key resources and advocacy needed to help Black people succeed in the workforce.  The panel of Black workers also discussed how their support from Black Worker Centers within the Hub network resulted in them finding living wage employment and developing advocacy skills to become ambassadors for the Black Worker Centers.  


State Senator Sydney Kamlager (right) engages in a discourse with UCLA CARE at Work Director Lola Smallwood-Cuevas at the Summit.

Following their discourse, a panel of Black Worker Hub leaders participated in a discussion about the Hub’s mission and vision to build a Black worker-led movement that successfully advocates for high-quality jobs, economic mobility and policies that enable Black working communities to steadily flourish. 


“The Black Worker Summit was an amazing example of developing spaces that served the needs of Black workers throughout Southern California,” said Jalil Austin, program manager for the Black Worker Hub.  


“It allowed the Hub to see what’s possible when we co-develop spaces with our coalition partners and come together to secure a commitment to building Black worker power across the grassroots and advocacy aisles.” 


A group of community advocates participate in a breakout session to strategize solutions for improving opportunities for Black workers.

Also during the Summit, State Senator Sydney Kamlager joined UCLA CARE at Work Director Lola Smallwood-Cuevas on stage for a discussion about the importance of Black Worker Centers and community-based organizations providing effective plans for their region’s Black workers while holding state legislators accountable for ensuring that state policies truly benefit Black workers. The Summit then facilitated several breakout sessions to enable event participants to team up to strategize ways of creating new community partnerships, spearheading progressive platforms and advocating for policies that will enact real change for Black workers. 


 “The Hub is excited to utilize the energy from the Black Worker Summit to ensure the success of the Black Worker Centers and our allies,” said Austin. “We’re equally excited about developing a regional campaign that fulfills the needs of every Black worker in California.” 


 The Black Worker Summit was organized based on the fundamental principle that all Black workers deserve access to safe, good-paying jobs that are viable career paths and free from discrimination. Recommendations from the UCLA CARE at Work’s recent report,         Essential Stories: Black Worker COVID-19 Economic Health Impact Survey, will help inform and guide the policy priorities and essential investments needed to ensure that Black workers thrive.