Talking with Judaline Cassidy of Tools & Tiaras

Judaline Cassidy (second from left) and a group of girls tour a construction site as part of the Construction Skills Day Camp. Photo courtesy of Judaline Cassidy.

In September, Annabel of Rights Here interviewed Judaline Cassidy for Urban Omnibus.

Judaline was the first female plumber in Plumbers Local Union 371 in Staten Island. She recently had a major breakthrough when Plumbers Local 1 officially recognized the “Croton Sisters” women’s committee.

In 2017, Judaline set up the nonprofit Tools & Tiaras Inc, which introduces girls to construction tools. Tools & Tiaras runs workshops during the school year, and summer camps in New York and New Jersey. As Judaline’s words make clear, teaching girls how to use tools is about far more than construction. It’s about power. 

“I didn’t want any little girl to grow up like I did,” says Judaline. “I didn’t have confidence in myself. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the world. And I knew how construction changed all of that for me. I went from being a poor girl, growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, to having a union salary that enables me to have a house, to start Tools & Tiaras. You always have a job as a tradesperson. That is powerful. That’s why more women need to know about it. The freedom.

“When you realize that you can do something that most women and a lot of men can’t do, it gives you this bravado. You even walk differently. Because the minute you start working with tools, the mind shift happens: ‘I can do this. I can do anything.'”

Read the full interview here: “Power Tools“, Urban Omnibus.

A group of Construction Skills campers and future tradeswomen. Photo by Judaline Cassidy
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