Justice for George Floyd, a Statement from AFT- Lone Star College

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AFT-Lone Star College sends its condolences and support to the friends and family of George Floyd and stands in solidarity with all of those who call for justice in his name.

The historic connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement is deep.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final days were spent in support of sanitation workers in Memphis.  The storied March on Washington in 1963 was a march for jobs and freedom.  The connection is there because, in the United States of America, economic injustice and racial inequality are inextricably linked.  The connection is there because, in the United States of America, abuse of workers and abuse of minorities are inextricably linked.

When a black man dies at the hands of racist police, when a worker becomes unemployed because his job is outsourced in the name of stockholder dividends, when a mother has no health insurance for her child with Covid because the state would not expand Medicaid, these are all different sides of the same unjust picture.  Systemic institutional racism engrained for 400 years and an economic system that favors the few over the many invariably collide and the fallout hits our brothers and sisters of color most frequently.

So, while we embrace the humanity of each individual, grieve the loss of this one man and offer our sympathy to all who knew him, we call for a season of change to finally address all of the systemic issues that lead to a seemingly unending stream of black lives lost.

We call for real police reform that roots out racism, that builds connections between police departments and the communities they serve, and that trains officers to deescalate conflict.  Many police officers are also our union brothers and sisters and we know they grieve for the violence in their midst even while they themselves struggle with the economic injustice of being underpaid and overworked.

We call for real access to health care, quality education, food security, affordable housing and diversity in hiring to right the economic inequities that systemically victimize our brothers and sisters of color disproportionally.

We call for an end to violence – both the disorganized violence of random rioters and the institutional violence incited by the U.S. President and others justifying themselves with tired racist dog whistles of law and order.

To quote Dr. King as he stood only a few hundred yards from where today’s patriots peacefully cry out that Black Lives Matter,

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”