Over the past few weeks we have been at times heartbroken and angry.
We are heartbroken over the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the racist attack on Christian Cooper. Unfortunately they are not new or isolated tragedies but just the latest examples of the injustices our Black and brown brothers and sisters experience daily.
We are angry at the unfair and outsized impact of COVID-19 on our Black and brown communities. Angry over the plight of “essential” workers who have continued to work every day, often without needed PPE or adequate paid leave or health coverage, and frequently without just compensation.
Being heartbroken and angry are not enough. We also must be resolute; resolute in our commitment to force change. These recent events re-enforce our core belief that economic justice and racial justice are inseparable. To that end, we must continue demanding more government and corporate commitment to good jobs, affordable housing, and our public schools. We must continue calling for greater public investment for clean water, more sidewalks and well maintained streets.
Now more than ever we are committed to realizing our vision that every one of us, regardless of the color of our skin, or where we come from, should live and work in dignity, in safe and healthy communities.
We continue believing that all working people, including law enforcement and corrections workers, have the right to a union, but we also do not support the notion that our Union or any union should condone or tolerate wrongdoing.
We know that change will take time, and we are committed to be in the fight to dismantle structural racism for the long haul. What does this mean for us?
- We will look in the mirror, assessing our own policies, practices and customs to make sure we are a shining example of an equitable and inclusive organization. We will invest in educating our members on the corrosive effects of structural racism on all of us.
- We will strengthen our ties with community allies and build relationships with new organizations committed to fighting racism and creating a more just society.
- We will continue to demand that our elected leaders support our call for justice, accountability and investment in our communities. If they don’t, we will work to replace them with those who will.
Changes like these are not easy, but they have to happen. Working together, standing together make our vision for a just society come true.
Brad Rayson, President James Bradley, Executive Vice President Brenda Shields, Vice President Ashlee Gray, Secretary Treasurer Alisa Franklin, Recording Secretary Lilldeus Hereth, Trustee Stephen West, Trustee Lance Wyss, Trustee
Service Employees International Union Local 205