GUEST COMMENTARY--It is painful to be an American today. Our hearts are broken by the senseless & needless death of George Floyd and the subsequent civil unrest of the past few days.
As we watch the video of George Floyd pleading for his life as Minneapolis police look on, we as labor activists have to respond.
It’s the latest example that something is profoundly wrong in America.
The Covid pandemic already ripped back the covers on the two Americas workers in this country live in. Now this latest in a long line of senseless acts of violence against people of color only acts to further deepen the lines of demarcation.
Labor has a long history of standing as a collective voice for working people, demanding change and taking action to right the injustices in our communities. The AFL-CIO and many of its affiliates fought side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders for the American Dream – a country where racial justice, labor rights, retirement security and better access to healthcare and higher education for all Americans is an attainable goal. We must continue to stand up for what is right on issues of social, racial and economic equality.
We cannot condone the violence of the past few days, but understand the grief and rage behind it. Now is the time to turn that fury into action to stem the pain so many of us are feeling now.
We can each step up and do our part. Speak out for solidarity among all our union brothers and sisters. Every successful social reform movement in this country began when activists stood up and fought for a better future. The labor movement is no exception. As we stand united against the forces of hate and those who seek to divide us, we answer to the better angels of our nature.
We have the power to enact real change. Now is the time to demand justice – and leaders who live up to the American ideal. Let’s roll up our sleeves and begin. November is right around the corner.
(Cherri Senders is the publisher of Labor 411. Reach her at Labor411.org)