In the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd murder, we shared the National AFT and CFT statements of outrage and solidarity with the protests against police brutality. We are pleased that the statewide body of which we are a part has clearly stood with the Black Lives Matter movement and is committed to not just speak out against individual acts of police brutality, but also to address systemic racism by dismantling “the structures that uphold anti-Black racism in our schools and communities.”
Over the past two weeks since those statements came out, we have been moved to see the protests largely organized by young people, many of them our districts’ and local high school students, bravely demand racial and social justice as well as an end to police brutality. Indeed, a number of our students and AFT members have put their bodies on the line, risked illness during a pandemic, and, in some instances, been the recipients of tear gas and rubber bullets in response to their peaceful protest.
We support peaceful protest and applaud those who have been on the frontlines here in San Diego and across the country. But it cannot end there. As unionists, we deeply believe that our interests are inextricably bound to the interests of our students and the communities we serve. Our struggle for economic and workplace justice for workers is linked to the larger struggle for social and racial justice in the U.S. We cannot and will not let this moment pass without doing what we can to help address the deep issues of systemic racism in America. As the old labor slogan puts it, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
Consequently, your AFT Guild has been and will continue to be committed to standing with community allies in the fight against police brutality and racism in the community and the country at large. We will also seek to deepen our political and social commitment to pushing for real systemic change. Finally we pledge to do what we can in our campus communities to encourage more anti-racist pedagogy, ensure equity in hiring and all campus institutions, and strive to make our classrooms and campuses beloved communities where all of our students feel welcome, safe, and empowered to succeed and become active citizens in American democracy.