Reprinted from the AFL-CIO’s blog Now by Kenneth Quinnell on February 19, 2021.
This year, for Black History Month, [the AFL-CIO is] taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today’s profile is Akua Dixon.
Looking back after nearly 50 years in the union, jazz cellist and composer Akua Dixon reflected on how much she’s depended on the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) throughout her career: “I’ve seen a lot of progress since the 1970s when the change started. You had a group of people band together to form the Symphony of the New World, which had a lot of African American players in it and as part of the foundation of the orchestra’s board. To go through the legal system to try to change the hiring practices at places like the New York Philharmonic, and having an organization like Local 802 to march with you and be with you was a wonderful thing.”