Category Archives: Activists
Jim Larkin: Leader And Organizer For Workers

Jim Larkin is a leader from Ireland who founded several organizations. The Irish Transport and the General Workers’ Union wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the efforts of Larkin and his ideas about wanting a fair environment for employees.

Although Larkin was born in England, he is known for much of the positive work that he did in Ireland. He also died in Ireland in 1947. The General Workers’ Union was the largest union in the area before others were founded.

Larkin traveled to the United States to try to start similar unions and organizations, but he was deported soon after he arrived. He is a man who worked to establish and promote unions until he died. Jim Larkin didn’t have a lot of formal education when he was younger because he grew up in what was considered the slums of England.

He would find odd jobs to help out his family before he became a foreman at the Liverpool docks. After he started working, he saw that workers weren’t being treated as fairly as they could, which is why he started various unions.

Some of Larkin’s methods seemed militant, so he was moved to Dublin where he continued founding unions. He wanted all types of workers in Ireland to come together to create one large organization.

A few years later, Jim Larkin founded the Irish Labour Party. He was responsible for leading several strikes in Dublin as a way to promote the independence of workers and the equal opportunities that they deserved.

Learn more about Jim Larkin:

Larkin & Lacey

There are a lot of labor organizations that exist to advocate for the civil rights of laborers in various types of industries.

These unions include the American Federation of Teachers; United Auto Workers; The International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union; American Nurses Association; Transport Union Workers Union of America; United Food and Commercial Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; American Postal Workers Union; United Farm Workers; International Longshore and Warehouse Union; National Association of Letter Carriers; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; The United Steelworkers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; California State University Employees Union; United Electric Radio and Machine Workers of America; Director’s Guild of America; International Union of Elevator Constructors; Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union; Fraternal Order of Police; Graphic Communications International Union; Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union; Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union; California Faculty Association; California Nurses Association; California State University Employees Union; Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees; United American Nurses; United Mine Workers of America; United Transportation Union; United Domestic Workers of America; United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; Utility Workers Union of America; Union of America, Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Seafarers International Union of North America.

Labor Unions have been very influential in American society, culture and politics. Many of the rules and regulations regarding employment that we take for granted were the achievements of labor unions in the 20th century.  Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund

Throughout the past 200 years, there has been a lot of struggling on the part of unions and union members to cement civil rights for laborers. For those who were born into this modern system of workplace regulations and civil rights, it is easy to forgot that at some point, people did not enjoy these things.

There are civil rights organizations that are based upon identity, not labor. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin put their heads together and created an organization that addressed the issue of identity.

This identity-based organization is called the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The identities that they focus on are those of Latinos, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants. Like a laser, they are focusing their energy on the the needs of undocumented immigrants. There are stories about DREAMers and DACA posted all over their website.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael:

Yeonmi Park Stands Strong in Face of North Korean Wrath

Yeonmi Park is a woman of both exceptional strength and incredible courage. She escaped one of the most reviled governments on the planet, the Kim Jong Un run North Korea, and endured two years as human chattel when she was sold into a human trafficking ring as a 13 year old girl. Still, Park kept her head held high and eventually made a harrowing escape that would eventually lead her to becoming a face of dissent, and an enemy of the North Korean dictatorship. The tiny woman now stands tall, years later, in the face of North Korea’s wrath.

Park has done a ton of press since deciding to become an activist for human rights and through it all she has kept her sights focused. She wants to stop North Korea from doing to so many others what they have done to her and her family. Not only that, but she wants to see an end to human trafficking. Standing for justice surely shouldn’t make her a conduit of controversy, but the North Korean government has done everything that they could in order to discredit the woman.

North Korea is famous for trying to drag down defectors who manage to escape their steely, greedy grasp. Becoming a defector of North Korea puts you at some risk, but becoming a public image that stands against North Korean views puts you into true danger. North Korea has already tried to kill Park Sang-hak, the man who launches anti dictator leaflets while in North Korean airspace. They’ve also killed people who write exposes on the dictator and his family. So to see Park become a public image makes many worry for her safety. North Korea’s most common weapon for refugees is character assassination. They released an 18 minute video on the North Korean website that seemed developed only to hate on, discredit, and slander Yeonmi Park.

Park rose to prominent internet fame when a speech of her’s went viral on YouTube. Yeonmi had agreed to be a speaker at the One Young World Summit back in Dublin and she didn’t hide her voice when she spoke of North Korean ills. Park told the audience about watching her friend’s mother executed in public for breaking a minor rule. She and others were so brainwashed by the North Korean government that they feared even thinking negative thoughts about the regime for fear of some sort of reprisal.

The gruesomeness of her details contrasted sharply with her porcelain doll like appearance. Yeonmi Park is a beautiful young woman, tiny in stature, but fierce in both voice and determination. Since the viral video Park has become a sensation an done that is starting to make people like Kim Yong Un very worried. Her new book, which will assuredly rocket to the top of the Best Sellers list, will expose all of the awful truths that Park had to live through. Hopefully her story helps to spark some very real change in the world to prevent such ordeals from happening again.