Sisters and Brothers -
The murder of our brother George Floyd saddens us deeply as it marks yet another case of an unjust killing of an unarmed black man. Police are charged with the duty to protect and serve us all, and the police officer who murdered George Floyd together with the officers who stood idly by and allowed his murder to occur must be brought to justice.
Teamsters Local 117 is a large and diverse Union with members working and living in nearly every occupation and community across the state of Washington. The members we represent in Law Enforcement and Corrections have overwhelmingly expressed empathy for the family of George Floyd and disapproval of the actions and inactions of the officers involved.
As a union, we stand with our black and brown Sisters and Brothers and condemn these heinous acts. We need top to bottom reform in police departments across the country, but we cannot stop there. To work toward real and sustainable social justice, we must also reform our political structure, housing, transportation, health care, education, the criminal justice system, the workplace, unions, and all other corners of society that encourage, promote and foster race and income inequality.
Black and brown communities are tired, outraged, and taking to the streets in protest along with allies of every color. The anger and pain are real and the message for change cannot be diluted by the unfortunate acts of destruction of property that are taking place. I join with the family of George Floyd in calling for those committing these acts to stop. Together, we can acknowledge this pain and anger, peacefully protest, and organize around the common goal of eliminating the shroud of racism that still envelops our country and build a society that no longer restricts and endangers black and brown people.
This is a time of reckoning in America. I call on all of us at Teamsters 117 to ask what we can do to stop racism and treat all people regardless of race, color, gender, or sexual orientation with compassion and respect.
We are no stranger to fighting injustice - the power of our Union is not limited to our labor agreements. Now is the time for systemic change and to build a more just society for all.
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