Dear Fellow SEIU Healthcare Sisters and Brothers,
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has once again put police brutality against Black people in America on view to the world. The blatant disregard for Black life in the emotionless face of officer Derek Chauvin — as he put his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while he drew his last breath — was beyond shocking.
The uprisings that followed in cities across the country demonstrate that oppressed communities want change and justice meted out equally to all—especially when it involves law enforcement officials.
We at SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri Kansas stand with Mr. Floyd’s family and families who have been victimized by police without receiving justice. We remember Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, LaQuan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and so many others.
Our members work in healthcare every day and witness the impact of racism on African Americans, whether it’s experiencing the disproportionate number of deaths from Covid-19 among Black people, or the lack of access to healthcare and healthcare facilities, to diseases heightened by poverty and lack of quality foods, to the excessive use of police force and the over militarization of our communities.
The arrest and charging of officer Chauvin is a good first step, but the world questions what took so long given the video evidence that we all witnessed? We will continue to stand with people of conscience – Black, brown, white, Asian and others — to force change in this country, where equity and justice is valued as a human right.
Racism is the real virus that prevents our country from becoming what it should be. Rooting it out must start with acknowledging the contributions of African Americans – more than two centuries of free labor, creative ingenuity, lives sacrificed in wars – and uniting to correct the wrongs of the past.
Our union is an example of what is called for to address the issues that keep our country divided — people of good will from all races uniting to lift all out of poverty and deliver resources where all can enjoy a quality life regardless of race, creed or color.
Please stay safe sisters and brothers, and let us all commit ourselves to the work ahead to correct racial injustice in all of its ugly forms. The country will heal when racism dies and there is real liberty and justice for all.
President, SEIU Healthcare IL IN MO KS