SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS, the largest union of health care and child care workers in the Midwest, representing over 90,000 front-line care workers, welcomes the current temporary ceasefire, the return of Israeli women and children held hostage, the release of Palestinian women and children held in prison, and the opening for humanitarian aid. As care workers, we mourn the horrific slaughter of 1,200 Israelis carried out by Hamas on October 7th, and we call for the release of all 240 hostages taken that day. We also mourn the deaths of over 14,000 Palestinians, including over 6,000 children.
We call on our elected officials to meet this moment, lead with our shared values, and wield the considerable power of the United States government to demand a permanent ceasefire now to save lives—and for a path to long-term solutions that will bring peace, safety, and justice in the region.
We cannot be silent in the face of such devastation and violence, wherever it occurs, from Palestine and Israel, to Sudan, Congo and Haiti. We see the humanity in all people, be they Black, Brown, White, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, on the other side of the world, or here in our own communities. We condemn anti-Palestinian racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism in all forms.
As care workers, we are horrified to see spaces of caregiving and refuge, where tens of thousands of innocent children and families are seeking medical treatment or basic life-sustaining resources, such as shelter, food, and water, being targeted. It is unacceptable to deny any of our fellow humans medical care. We call on all parties to shield healthcare facilities from bombing and combat, and to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and patients.
We deeply appreciate and support our elected champions that have already spoken out, at great personal risk. We know we cannot achieve peace through violence. We know all too well that oppression is a root cause of violence.
As our Mission statement says, we are committed to organizing and mobilizing towards a society defined by freedom and justice. As we head into the holiday season in the United States, we call for the first step towards fulfilling this vision in Israel and Palestine—an immediate permanent ceasefire.