The Recent Events in Kenosha & Our Union’s Fight for Human Dignity

BLM Chris Brown Strike for Black Lives Cropped for site

Our union’s foundation is built upon the concept of human dignity. We have focused a lot on dignity on the job: the right to be respected, listened to, and valued. We stand up for the dignity of our clients, patients, and residents and fight to give them the care and resources they deserve to live full and independent lives of their choosing. We stand for the dignity of all people and that’s why we proudly say #BlackLivesMatter.

When #JacobBlake was shot in the back seven times in front of his children, it displayed one of the most extreme examples of someone in authority not respecting another’s humanity. Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon example as we’ve seen recently with #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, and too many others to name here.

On Wednesday afternoon, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year-old from Antioch, Illinois, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder. Graphic video published Tuesday night shows Rittenhouse in Kenosha, WI firing a rifle at demonstrators, which struck three people, killing two. 

The same department that presumed an unarmed black person was a potential threat presumes that armed white vigilantes are allies.  In the clip below from Tuesday night, a Kenosha police officer tells these vigilantes “We really appreciate you guys, we really do.”

The police also allowed an armed Rittenhouse to pass through their lines. He then fled the state.

The Kenosha Police Department shot an unarmed black man in the back in front of his children and allowed a murderer to walk right past them. This is an example we’ve seen throughout the country: Innocent Black people are shot by police in the street for being presumed criminals while white people who committed criminal acts are presumed innocent. This cannot continue.

Art by Markus Prime (Markus.effin.prime on IG)

In our communities, we’ve dealt with blatant disrespect and police brutality.

Our union will continue to speak out against systematic racism in policing, in our workplaces, and wherever we find it.

In Solidarity,

Greg Kelley

President, SEIU Healthcare IL IN MO KS