Less than 24 hours after we sent out our statement below, yet another black man was needlessly murdered at the hands of the police.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Brooks’s family, and we ask each of you to do everything in your power to help dismantle the societal structures which allow events like this to continue to occur with seemingly no end in sight.
AFT Guild, Local 1931 Stands Committed to Fight for Racial Justice on Our Campuses and in Our Community
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 proud that our state and national bodies of which we are affiliated have clearly stood with the Black Lives Matter movement and are committed to not just speaking out against individual acts of police brutality, but also addressing 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 victims 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 County 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 all 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 leadership 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. To us, this is more than a moment, this is a movement. We cannot let the spotlight fade on this issue. We must continue to push forward for real change.
However, we cannot do this alone. Remember, we are all our union. Our strength stems from our solidarity. So in addition to the commitment of your elected AFT Guild leadership to continue this fight without pause, we also want to hear from you, our members who make up this great union, about how you can help contribute to the solution of this systemic problem that has plagued our society for the past 400 years. Working together, we can make real change happen.
Your AFT Guild Executive Council