Our labor community and nation are faced with a horrific crime and tragedy: George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer. Justice delayed is justice denied. We demand swift justice.
The time is now for us to unite, saying: “Enough is enough and we all must ensure that another Black person never dies again from police violence, at the hands of officers who took an oath to protect and serve.”
For Black people, policing is “the most enduring aspect of the struggle for civil rights,” because it has always been a mechanism for racial control. Police have attacked and killed civil rights protesters in the South, worked to protect white spaces in the North from integration, stopped and frisked Black New Yorkers at egregiously high rates, and incarcerated Black people at more than five times the rate of whites, or 10:1 in Minnesota.
George Floyd’s death, like Breonna Taylor’s, must be viewed in this context of state-sanctioned police brutality and murder. From Ahmaud Arbery’s death at the hands of white vigilantes to the dramatically higher rate of death from COVID-19 for BIPOC (Black indigenous people of color), racism and police violence is literally killing Black people.
Black people deserve – and the nation demands – justice for those who have died at the hands of police, reform in the policing of their communities and a commitment to protect and serve their communities- as they do for property and white communities. As a labor community and as a country, we can not accept a police officer brutally murdering another Black person again. We stand in solidarity with our labor siblings of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 who have stood their ground refusing to be complicit in the transportation of arrested Minneapolis protesters.
Cities across the country, like Oakland and Los Angeles, have looked to pass multimillion dollar budgets that would further fund policing while defunding or neglecting altogether social and recreational services. We demand that our cities’ budgets reverse these priorities.
We must advocate for and protect each other everyday. This is practical, tangible work. Groups such as the Anti Police Terror Project and Black Lives Matter LA organize for Black lives every day, year round. They need our support.
Enough is enough and we all must ensure that another Black person does not die from a police officer who took an oath to protect and serve.