June 01, 2020

Change must come

AFSCME joins in mourning the unconscionable death of George Floyd and in demanding justice for his family and an end to the contagion of racism that continues to beset our country. AFSCME International President Lee Saunders shares some of his thoughts on the events of the past week.

Lee Saunders: The state of America today, further shattered by George Floyd’s murder, breaks every patriotic heart. The raw outrage we see in the streets comes as a pandemic has needlessly killed more than 100,000 of our loved ones and more than 40 million Americans are out of work, afraid they won’t be able to provide at the dinner table let alone next month’s rent or mortgage….

As an African-American man who lived through the 1960s, a father who has two sons and three grandsons and is concerned about their future, and as someone who leads one of the largest labor unions in the country – one that is strongly allied with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement – I propose a better way to channel our anger and our energy. Peaceful protests must continue. In the process we cannot tear down the very vital services our families, friends and neighbors need to make it through this pandemic….

If we want to crush systemic racism, this is where we should begin: by registering to vote and bringing down every politician who has built a career out of stoking racial flames, failing to prepare our nation for this pandemic, and doing nothing as millions more file jobless claims each week….

Make no mistake: the rage we see is real and it is pulsating through our communities. I call on all of us to channel that rage toward our ultimate goal: an America that lives up to its promise for all.

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