Q&A: Lecturer Domale Dube Keys on Black Worker Organizing

by Jaquelin Tafolla

Domale Dube Keys, Ph.D., is a lecturer for UCLA Labor Studies. She is a transborder Black feminist scholar whose work aims to reshape discourse around issues of organizing, race, gender, and sexuality to support movement-building in the U.S. and around the globe for economic and environmental justice.

Her Winter Quarter 2021 course, Labor Studies 188, Sem 2: Black Worker Organizing, places emphasis on the exploration of economic and political challenges facing Black working-class communities, social movement strategies and tactic for organizing Black workers and communities, and inter-racial coalitions of working people for equitable employment opportunity and a more democratic economy.

1. What do your work focus on?

Ogoni people of southern Nigeria who have waged a decades-long nonviolent fight against Shell Oil and the Nigerian government for causing environmental degradation on their land and the subsequent military occupation that has led to the murder of thousands of Ogoni people.

I focus on women’s contributions to the movement since men have often been at the center of scholarship about the struggle. As I retell this narrative, my work discusses the complexities of organizing against multinational corporations and government regimes who jointly oppress communities in exchange for making a profit.

2. Why did you choose to teach Labor Studies 188, Sem 2: Black Worker Organizing?

I chose to teach this class because my work has led me to think deeply about the often inseparable relationship between governments and corporations that often places individuals at a disadvantage. This, in turn, necessitates the power individuals amass collectively to influence working conditions and policies that improve their quality of life, their families, and communities.

2. What are you most excited for about the class?

I’m most excited about taking a virtual tour to a variety of sites of Black worker organizing across the U.S and internationally. I look forward to having conversations with movement organizers on the ground about the issues they face and the processes they implement to achieve their goals.

Enroll in Winter 2021 – Labor Studies 188, Sem 2: Black Worker Organizing!