Systemic racism and abuse of power is an ugly truth that we must face head on to defeat. What happened to George Floyd is unacceptable. What happened to Armaud Arbery is unacceptable. What happened to Breonna Taylor is unacceptable. What has happened, and is happening, in communities of color across the country is unacceptable. We stand with these families and communities that are grappling with such devastating losses as they fight for justice from gross abuses of power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Labor unions have been at the forefront of fighting for justice and equality in the workplace for generations, knowing that economic equality and social justice are inextricably linked. IUOE Local 25 is made up of many races and ethnicities that come from very different backgrounds and walks of life. Because of this, we are in a unique position of being a microcosm of what is happening in the country currently. While we may often disagree with each other politically and philosophically, we are all on the side of JUSTICE and EQUALITY. Let us use ourselves as an example of how we, a group of diverse and passionate individuals, come together AS ONE for a cause bigger than ourselves. We must stand united against the forces that wish to divide us in the name of politics or personal gain. The scariest picture for those in power to witness is us all STANDING TOGETHER as BROTHERS AND SISTERS, regardless of race, background, gender, political affiliation or economic class. It is the same reason that corporations are so scared of labor unions and spends billions of dollars to fight against us. They know that TOGETHER, WE ARE POWERFUL. Let us not lose sight of our solidarity because of the destruction being caused by some, many of whom are intentionally trying to turn us against each other.
George Floyd’s brother attended a prayer vigil at a makeshift memorial yesterday in Minneapolis. He begged, “STOP THE LOOTING, DON’T STOP THE PROTESTING”. The chant that overtook the vigil, as all hands were in the air, was “PEACE ON THE LEFT, JUSTICE ON THE RIGHT”. As Union Brothers and Sisters, we are used to thrusting our fist in the air as a sign of Brotherhood and solidarity. Let us all raise our hands together. Let us show the peace sign with our left hand and our solidarity fist with the right. Let us show that WE WILL NOT BE DIVIDED OR DISTRACTED. We will STAND TOGETHER FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL.