June 4, 2020
Contact: Steve Smith 510-326-4644
Labor Federation Calls for Policy Solutions to Address Structural Racism and Police Violence
We’re living in a recurring nightmare in America. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. And for centuries, our brothers and sisters have been murdered for no other reason than the color of their skin. Every time a Black person is brutalized by the police, individuals and organizations condemn it. When racism leads to a modern-day lynching, we express shock. But these scenes repeat. Over and over. We’re on a vicious loop that ignores the desperate need for change and cements the systemic racism that’s plagued our nation since its founding.
Today, we need to chart a new path. Outrage, shock and condemnation aren’t enough. It’s time to do more. California’s labor movement is committed to put our full might behind solutions that address structural racism, white supremacy and police brutality even within our own movement. We don’t have all the answers. But we’re ready for a real process that explores the actions we can take together to create an equitable state and country. We’ll work with our community allies – large and small – that fight for criminal justice reform, an end to police violence, economic equality and a dismantling of white supremacy. We’ll follow the lead of our impacted communities and tackle the plague of systemic racism with the force and urgency that this legacy of oppression deserves.
As a start, we must look inward. The labor movement must root out racism in our ranks and make our movement and its leaders more reflective of the diversity of our members. We have begun to have honest and difficult conversations within our organization on how we can end these patterns of oppression. We call on Governor Newsom, labor and legislative leaders today to make this a top priority and work with the labor movement and all those dedicated to an agenda that results in radical change. We need concrete policy that addresses the inequality and racial injustice and police violence impacting all communities of color.
As a movement that exists to lift oppression, Labor must put our full weight behind specific proposals to create equality in every aspect of working people’s lives. Our members in California – a majority of whom are people of color – are ready to mobilize in support of shattering systemic racism that harms us all. The time for talk is over. It’s time for action.
- We oppose spending taxpayer dollars on militarizing the police. Those funds should be invested in schools and communities first.
- We need to end the school-to-prison pipeline by creating high-road jobs where they have been erased.
- Zero tolerance of police officers who commit any acts of violence against our communities, greater transparency for public review of police records and developing a national database tracking police officers who commit these offenses.
Our movement will not tolerate white supremacy. Black Lives Matter.