Topeka Fed's First Annual Solidarity Dinner 2018

On April 6th the Kansas AFL-CIO was the place to be for local union labor leaders, as the Topeka Federation Central Labor Council provided great fellowship on the Friday evening for affiliates and other organizations. The outreach is the "brainchild" of Topeka Fed President John Garretson and United Way Labor Liaison Sara Wilder. They say it was brought about to enjoy each others company and share thoughts, concerns and ideas about the labor movement in the Topeka community and surrounding area. A coctail hour and a relaxed evening  of "breaking bread" was the perfect setting for the event.

The event was highlighted by special guest Chef Sean Hall who also prepared the dinner and dessert for the evening. It is Chef Sean's story that stole the evening. His heartfelt words of the way he began his career as a dishwasher in the Las Vegas Culinary Union Training Center in 1997 were every bit the motivational speech about 30 labor leaders were looking forward too.  Sean's story of rising to the level of Executive Chef on the Las Vegas strip and his insistance to maintain his union membership (even if it cost him the position), is something we can all look up to. Transplanted to Topeka, Sean's sights are set on attaining a building and developing Topeka's first culinary union and school. Chef Sean says, " this is grassroots" and that he is a firm believer in the Union and he believes NOW is the time to UNITE and IGNITE a Union Proud Topeka.  Needless to say the meal was a big hit!

John and Sara are making this an annual and larger event but they are not stopping there. This was an opportunity to make attendees aware of the launch of a new initiative known as Camp Focus, where young people will learn of Union Apprenticeship opportunites and learn still more about the labor movement. In addition, attendees on this night learned that the Labor/United Way Partnership is so important to building a strong community and the good work done here is to be congratulated for sure. But, continued work is necessary to improve the lives of others, their well being and make lasting change. Press on Brothers and Sisters of the Topeka Fed!