NYSNA members joined union sisters from 1199SEIU, AFSCME, and UFCW along with advocates from community health and social justice groups on March 11 for a shared celebration of women’s accomplishments, diversity, and collective strength. More than four hundred women gathered at 1199SEIU and cheered on the evening’s “stars” — 28 women who paid tribute to either their cultural heritage or a woman they admired and raised awareness for their personal social justice passions by performing, dancing, or singing their way down the Red Carpet for Social Justice.
This was the second year that NYSNA has taken part in the event, which brings together women from across the labor movement and builds solidarity around common social justice struggles. What started as a New York City-centered and 1199SEIU event eight years ago has grown to include over 20 other unions and groups.
This year’s event included women from Albany, Baltimore, New Jersey and even Buffalo. Sarah Annabelle Chmura, a NYSNA RN from Erie County Medical Center, represented the Mohawks of Kahnawake as she walked the Red Carpet for climate justice. “I loved seeing all the different women celebrating their cultures and was so honored and happy to be part of this incredibly energetic and positive experience.”
Kirsys Baez, a NYSNA nurse at Elmhurst Hospital, celebrated her Puerto Rican heritage with her daughter Kelsey as they danced their way down the Red Carpet. Later in the program, Ms. Baez received the 1199SEIU Audrey Smith Campbell Leadership Award for her work to ensure justice for all — for her patients, her coworkers, and her community.
Four other NYSNA RNs also walked this year’s Red Carpet: Jacqui Gilbert, representing Trinidad and Tobago; Hortense Palmer, representing Jamaica; Cheryl Powell, representing Angela Davis; and Rosamonde Semexant, representing Haiti and carrying the banner for safe staffing. Two NYSNA staff members participated as well: Minerva Solla represented Cuba and Kim Lyons represented Ireland.