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Dear WINC Tradeswomen,

We are witnessing a shift in the country, a shift towards an honest, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversation about race; specifically the Black experience in America. This is a conversation that is long overdue. As a society, we have been far too comfortable with Black people having to deal with micro and macro aggressions in every aspect of their lives, while also just simply trying to live and hopefully thrive. We say the names of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rekia Boyd, Tony McDade, Tanisha Anderson, Philando Castile, Malissa Williams, Trayvon Martin, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless other Black victims of not only police brutality, but an unjust judicial system that has historically and negatively impacted Black communities across America. Still, we know that the righteous outpouring of anger that we are seeing played out through protests and civil unrest across the globe, goes beyond these names and is a manifestation of 400+ years of wasted opportunities for America to atone for the sins of slavery, racism, and white supremacy.

When we started the Women in Nontraditional Careers initiative, WINC, in 2018, one of our main goals was to create a sisterhood of tradeswomen across the construction, manufacturing, transit, and rail industries. Our sisterhood is diverse, and we are intentional in making sure that it is also inclusive. Our first WINC tradeswomen training in January of this year was a conversation about intersectionality and how tradeswomen can support each other across racial lines. Our WINC trade speaking opportunities have created spaces for tradeswomen to share their experiences of working in the skilled trades. These conversations would not be possible without Black women within WINC.

As Black tradeswomen, you share your talents with us, legitimizing our initiative and giving it the authority to be a pipeline for prospective tradeswomen to enter nontraditional career pathways. As mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and creatives, you share your life experiences with us, often giving us a new lens to consider the impact of our work and ways to make it more engaging for underserved communities.

We appreciate you; we see you, but most importantly we always want you to be able to see yourself in this initiative because without you, it would not exist.

To our WINC trades sisters who are non-Black women of color and to our white trade sisters, please use this time to reflect on the conversation we began in January about intersectionality. Please use this moment to exercise solidarity with your fellow Black trade sisters. Every individual seeks support in a different way, but your solidarity can start with a simple question: Do you need me and where am I needed?

WINC will continue to have courageous conversations and strategize to create equity for all trade sisters. We thank you for your commitment to strengthening your sisters and in turn, strengthening the WINC initiative. Be safe, encouraged, and unrelenting in making sure that Black Lives Matter does not become a trendy catch phrase, but rather a daily practice in affirming the humanity of Black people.

#BlackLivesMatter #WINC #Tradeswomen

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