A Look Back at This Year in Labor and Racial Justice

By Sameer Rao Sep 04, 2017

The U.S. first celebrated Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894, almost a decade after labor unions across the country pushed for states to acknowledge and honor workers’ contributions to the country’s industrial strength. Today (September 4) marks the first Labor Day of a presidential administration whose leader, like the old business titans whose grandiose public images he tries to channel, repeatedly pursues paths that hurt working people—particularly people of color—while claiming to take their side.

Yet—despite nearly a years-worth of political attacks on workers’ autonomy and livelihoods—grassroots organizing movements continue to resist the administration’s agenda and stand up for those frozen out of the Horatio Alger myth. Unlike the labor movements of yore, which actively discriminated against communities of color, contemporary movements like Fight for $15 center racial justice and acknowledge racism’s intersection with class struggle while resisting political and economic threats that impact us all. 

Whether you’re recognizing today by practicing self-care with loved ones or rallying in the streets to demand racial and economic justice, we invite you to look back on the past year in resistance and solidarity with the following Colorlines articles: