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who we are

The Southern California Black Worker Hub for Regional Organizing advocates for the economic empowerment of Black workers throughout the region. We do that by supporting Black Worker Centers in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and San Diego as they fight for economic inclusion and opportunity for the region’s Black workers.

 

OUR VISION

For generations, Black workers and their families have been excluded from economic advancement opportunities in Southern California and as a result, Black families are overwhelmingly represented in converging crises of housing affordability, health and community safety.

Black Worker Centers, together with partners, policymakers and community members, are fighting to increase access to quality jobs, reduce employment discrimination, and expand pathways to gainful employment. By organizing and advocating for increased economic opportunity for Black workers, we will create a more equitable Southern California.

 

OUR values

Theory of change

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Our mission is data driven, informed by the lived experiences of our current base of Black workers and those who participated in our Essential Stories report. This report detailed the impacts of a long history of anti-Black economic structures whose negative effects are disproportionately felt by Black workers, creating a Black jobs crisis. This long-standing crisis is characterized by chronic unemployment, underemployment, and systemic racism. The Hub was created to address these issues and fight for economic inclusion and opportunities for the region’s Black workers through programming and advocacy.

 

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We provide Black workers with the support, resources and information that equip them to navigate issues of anti-Black racism. Our ‘Know your rights’ training informs workers of workplace safety and pandemic related workplace protections/regulations. The Hub’s organizing work builds power within our communities and holds elected officials accountable to community needs. By identifying worker’s needs and pressuring elected officials to exercise their political influence, we continue to enact legislation that addresses systemic racism within the workplace. Lastly our programs equip workers with the skills needed to gain employment and additional support including barrier-removal stipends that increase access to gainful employment.

origin story

The Los Angeles Black Worker Center (LABWC) founders and colleagues from many organizations across Southern California (SoCal) came together in 2019 and 2020 to investigate the potential of organizing worker centers throughout SoCal beginning with the Inland Empire and San Diego. What became clear early on was there was a need to support the capacity building of the Black Worker Centers to avoid the challenges LABWC face, and to engage in important campaign work that burgeoning BWCs do not have the capacity for. Those efforts came to fruition during the COVID pandemic and the groundbreaking report on Black Worker rights and wellness, the Essential Stories Report. More than academic research, Essential Stories revealed the inordinate burden on Black essential workers in their own voices and in 2021 brought new leaders into the organizing of the Inland Empire Black Worker Center and the San Diego Black Worker Center, and us, the Southern California Black Worker Hub for Regional Organizing. Now building on that work we continue to build the capacity of LA, IE, and SD BWCs and engage in work to leverage policies, funding, and programming to benefit Black workers.

 

meet the team

Dawn Modkins
Director
elda solomon
Policy Manager
Taylor Jackson
Regional Organizer
simone frank
Communications Coordinator
Darren Lewis
Program Manager
Melissa Morgan
Regional Organizer - Engagement & Impact Coordinator

Partner Organizations

SoCal BW Hub Advisory Board Table

Dawn Modkins

Director

Dawn Modkins is the Director of the Southern California Black Worker Hub.

Dawn is a Long Beach native, a mom of two sons, and a business owner.  She is a long-time union, political, and faith-based community organizer. She was instrumental in the formation of the BLM Global Network as its first National Organizing Director,  co-founder of the Long Beach Chapter, and Director of Chapter Coordination with Black Lives Matter Grassroots.

Dawn’s work life has been grounded in fighting for working-class people across various sectors, including communication workers, security and janitorial workers, and city, county, and municipal employees. She’s been a teaching fellow with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, AFL-CIO, and lead civic engagement campaigns as the organizing director at Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education, SCOPE LA.

Dawn’s studies in Industrial Organizational Psychology at CSULB supports both her work addressing institutional & systemic racism and anti-Blackness and her healing justice work with families directly impacted by systemic and police violence. She is an alliance, coalition, and community builder centering her work in Black community and in partnerships with non-Black communities and those most impacted by Institutional and systemic violence.

Elda Solomon

Policy Manager

Elda Solomon (she/her) is the Policy Manager with the Southern California Black Worker Hub for Regional Organizing, working specifically with the EO 11246 and the Build Black Better for All California Resolution Campaign. Elda is from Las Vegas, NV and is an avid trivia master and photographer. After earning a BS in Public Health at the University of Nevada, Elda continued to UCLA to pursue an MA in African American Studies. After joining UCLA CARE at Work as a graduate researcher, Elda now continues her pursuit towards racial equity in policy with the SoCal BW Hub.

Taylor Jackson

Regional Organizer

Taylor Jackson is a native to Los Angeles, grew up in several places including Shanghai and Dubai but spent most of her life in Northern Virginia. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Anthropology from Arizona State University, with a concentration in Public Administration and Public Management. Taylor has always been passionate about community-level work as a means of social change. During her undergraduate years, Taylor participated in several labs: ADVANCE: Equity among faculty research projects, Evolution, Ecology, and Social Behavior Lab, and conducted her own research study on Ecology-Driven Intergenerational Messages in Black families and their shared safety signal messages. She also worked as a Field Representative for Progressive Turnout Project during the 2020 election, was an organizer for Black Phoenix Organizing Collective, and was a Community Learning Engagement Manager for 228 Accelerator in D.C. As a leader, she was the secretary and content creator for ASU’s Black African Coalition and Vice President of Amnesty International. Taylor is a facilitator, educator, organizer, and believer in people. Her greatest passion is creating spaces of safety, trust, and belonging, where folks can be seen, heard, and loved. Taylor’s political worldview is shaped by her background in Cultural Anthropology and her experience of organizing. She dreams of a world where those who are marginalized become liberated and have access to long-term stability, and wellness and that everyone, especially Black folks, are safe.

Simone Frank

Communications Coordinator

Simone Frank is the Communications Coordinator for the Southern California Black Worker Hub for Regional Organizing. Graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in African American Studies and a Film, Television, and Digital Media minor, Simone is a first generation college graduate dedicated to racial equity. She has a passion for digital art and media intersecting with social justice and storytelling. Prior to her current position with SoCal BW Hub, she worked with the Center for the Advancement of Racial Equity (CARE) at Work at the UCLA Labor Center as a student advocating and supporting the field of work by uplifting Black communities. Fighting for equity and justice for the Black community has led Simone to continue her work with CARE at Work and SoCal BW Hub.

Darren Lewis

Program Manager

Darren Lewis is the Project Manager of the Southern California Black Worker Hub.

Darren was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and was driven by the art of storytelling. After applying to many colleges and universities, Darren was accepted to a four-year, private institution in St. Louis Missouri in the School of Communications department. His cross-training in public relations, journalism and marketing/advertising was instrumental in his success post-graduation in a myriad of sectors ranging from public healthcare to higher education. 

Darren’s work has been rooted in driving operational performance and producing quality programs to show clients and students from diverse academic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds how they can use adversities as a platform of inspiration to inspire. He’s built strategic partnerships with like minded HIV prevention agencies as the Prevention and Care Coordinator at Black AIDS Institute and served as a social media consultant at Altamed Health Services Corporation. 

Darren’s BA in Public Relations from Webster University serves as a foundation of support in his operational and administrative duties including the fight for racial equity of all black workers. His account management skills have allowed him to provide a high level of support to administrative teams and implement strategies tailored to the structure of an organization’s mission. When he’s not working, Darren enjoys traveling with his friends, shopping online, reading self-help books, hitting the gym and making self-care products.

Melissa Morgan

Regional Coordinator - Engagement & Impact Coordinator

Since moving to California in 2001, Melissa Morgan (she/her) has focused her professional and personal work in areas related to social justice, education, and youth-serving initiatives, primarily in Southern California. Her passion for equity, justice, and Black liberation comes from her roots as a child who grew up in the South analyzing race relations and income inequality in her working class community.

Melissa graduated from the University of North Florida, then served as a Rotary Cultural Ambassadorial Scholar of Good Will in Merida, Venezuela, before starting a family in California. She is the co-founder of B-Well, a Black-centered mental health and education collaborative and is a proud member of Black Lives Matter Grassroots. As a creative, youth advocate, learning ally, and the mom of two awesome daughters, Melissa enjoys thinking out of the box, connecting people and resources, giving voice to the unheard, amplifying important messages, fighting the good fight against systemic racism, and of course, laughing.