Meet Executive Board Member Recording Secretary Cheryl Evans

Without the Union’s Plans, I Wouldn’t Have Been Able to Care for My Family 

By Kelly Hartog

Cheryl Evans was elected last October to the AFSCME 3090’s executive board as recording secretary. After 28 years in the union working for the City of Los Angeles’ police department, and the union being there when she went through a traumatic health event, Evans wanted to give back. 

“The union provides its members with protection for their jobs. It fights for their wages and their benefits,” she said. She chose to run for a seat on the board for the “opportunity to implement and facilitate things that help serve members as the Local has served me.” 

Just after she was hired, the Local had different vendors come out and share the services they offered, she said. “I took advantage of many of them, particularly the supplemental disability insurance carriers.” That turned out to be a fortuitous decision because several years later Evans suffered a catastrophic brain injury and couldn’t work for almost three years. Today she’s fully recovered but noted, “Without that I wouldn’t have been able to care for my family.”  

She ran her campaign with the catchphrase ‘Transparency Scribe’ and her slogan was ‘Scribing Our Way to Transparency.’ “I essentially was trying to convey to the membership that I think transparency is a big component of what our Local needs,” she said. “I’m glad that my fellow board members share that same disposition. We’ve tried to be very transparent in terms of the decisions that we make that we believe are good for the advancement and improvement of our membership at large.” 

She’s also grateful to be employed by the city of Los Angeles, where there are so many protections in place that simply don’t exist in the private sector. “I worked in private industry for a number of years in HR before working for the city,” she said, “so I definitely see the difference in how that human resource umbrella functions and provides for its employees.” With the city she said, there is a complaint process and adjudication process, “and the fact that you have a union backing you for representation all the way through arbitration if necessary.” 

Even so, as a woman of color, Evans said she’s seen her fair share of discrimination. “I often feel I’m identified as a certain way and you have to navigate through life with that identity. Over the years, I have witnessed racism and sexism. The way I basically have dealt with it is to gain as much knowledge as I can to fine tune my skillset and be the best at what I do.” 

February is also Black History month but Evans says she’s not a fan of a “designated month, but I guess there has to be a starting point somewhere. I am 100% black every day of my life. Every day is Black history day for me, as is every month, year, my lifetime. I’m very proud of who I am, and where I come from.” 

She also believes much of her strength and determination in her work and life comes from her heritage. “I think we are very diverse people, and I think we’re a very strong people. We are always seemingly on the battlefield of equality. I look to my forefathers and mothers, and I can draw strength from their lives, their struggles, their adversity, and their ability to take initiative and be intentional in their movement.” 

And while she believes it’s important to promote Black leaders, Evans’ doesn’t believe they should stop there. “I don’t care whether you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+,” she said. “Everybody wants to see someone that represents who they are and what they believe in. And in terms of leadership, inclusion is vital. It gives people hope, it shows recognition and validates them. They have a voice at the table, and we are all deserving of a voice at the table.”

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