We are catching up on some of the activities of the American Federation of Government Employees — AFGE Local 1812 union — which represents a large part of the federal workforce at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
The following article is reposted from AFGE Local 1812 website.
AFGE Local 1812 and Lady Liberty
By AFGE Local 1812
Hundreds of people, including representatives of AFGE Local 1812, gathered on a very warm June 15th morning at the Victims of Communism Memorial which commemorates the millions of victims of communism and is located at Massachusetts Avenue and New Jersey Avenue, NW, two blocks from Union Station. The gathered crowd participated in the traditional annual wreath-laying ceremony. It was fitting for AFGE Local 1812 to assemble with representatives of over 20 Embassies and over thirty ethnic organizations to honor the memory of the millions who have perished and those that still suffer under this brutal totalitarian system. AFGE Local 1812 represents the broadcasters at the VOICE OF AMERICA who, for so many years, brought and continue to bring the message of hope and freedom to those trapped behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains, as well as the Radio/TV Marti broadcasters whose programs, on many platforms including dependable shortwave radio, are a crucial informational link to the people of Cuba.
Listening to the speeches of those honored with the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom – freedom fighter Guillermo Farinas of Cuba, Russian dissident Alexandr Podrabinek, and former Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi – was a source of inspiration. Whether enduring incarceration and beatings in Cuba or fighting against the unjust imprisonment of dissidents in psychiatric hospitals in Russia or facing down Soviet tanks in Budapest, these courageous individuals remind us that every life compromised or lost to this discredited ideology is a tragedy.
With the speeches done and while placing the Union’s wreath at the base of the VOC monument (a sculpture symbolizing the Lady Liberty statue to freedom erected on Tiananman Square in the bloody student demonstrations in Beijing) we were reminded that totalitarianism did not end with the fall of the Berlin Wall but continues to exist even in some former communist states and other totalitarian systems around the world today. And we were reminded once again of how crucial VOA and Radio/TV Marti broadcasts remain if liberty is to survive and not be extinguished in today’s chaotic world.
The AFGE Local 1812 wreath with its beautiful red roses, while lilies, daisies and blue chrysanthemums, was featured on the Victims of Communism FACEBOOK page. The decorative ribbon reads: Radio/TV Marti, AFGE-1812, VOA China.