Following several deeply debilitating months, with many of us facing furloughs, challenged by safety concerns at work and in our communities, struggling with limited childcare and transportation options, and burdened by the economic and psychological toll of the pandemic, the events of the last week and a half have been painful, stress-laden, rage-inducing, and hurtful. Truly, these words do not encapsulate the pain many of us, especially our Black and Brown sisters and brothers, feel in this moment.
But let our voices and values be clear in certain truths —
SEIU Local 668 unequivocally condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We condemn the unjust and immoral use of force to disperse peaceful protesters Monday night in Washington D.C.
We condemn the attempts to turn protest and reform into platforms for criminalizing free speech and dissent. And we demand that we take serious steps to live in a society where your life expectancy isn’t determined by the color of your skin or the zip code in which you live.
We know that now is the time to directly confront the systemic issues, such as the over-policing in communities of color, that prevent all working people, regardless of race, origin, or creed, from living a truly equal existence.
We ask that you all deal with each other with compassion and grace, given the tremendous emotional and psychological burden we all face. However, as all of America’s institutional and structural weaknesses continue to be laid bare this year, we cannot be silent.
Our organization exists to protect workers. We’ve always taken a broad view of how to accomplish that goal. The systemic forces that affect so many of you in the workplace are inextricably linked to the structural forces that undergird the systemic institutional racism that continues to pervade this country.
We’ve worked not only at the shop level, but also on the state and federal level on policies that would bring about real, lasting change on not only economic issues, but on social issues as well. We’ve engaged in direct action, lobbying, and electoral work. And we will continue to do so using the full range of tools at our collective disposal.
In this moment, SEIU Local 668 stands with the peaceful protestors who speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves. We must continue to give voice to those communities who continue to remain disenfranchised by our nation, in ways large and small. And we will stand with all those working to use this moment to bring about the lasting change needed that resonates in our workplaces, our communities, and our country.
Yesterday we voted and while this is an important right that many have died for, our efforts cannot cease once we’ve cast our ballots. Our efforts cannot begin and end with the Presidency, but must involve change at all levels of government, and throughout the institutions that shape American life.
In the days ahead, we ask our members to join with us as we work to identify constructive ways in which we can serve as a better effective voice for you in the workplace on issues of race and social justice, as well as engage in broader efforts to bring about systemic change at all levels. Please reach out to us with your thoughts and suggestions by sharing them with staff and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We stand together. We stand with the many voices demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others.
Together we will rise.