UCWGA statement on protests against police violence and systemic racism

Like millions around the nation and around the globe, our union was sickened by the footage of the murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin. And like those same millions, we know that this is not an isolated incident; it has become routine. Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Kayla Moore, Eric Garner, Ayianna Jones, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and the names continue. This isn’t happening somewhere remote from our state: Alexia Christian, Kathryn Johnson, Anthony Hill, Oscar Cain, Ahmaud Arbery, and Mahlon Summerour were killed by police right here in Georgia.

The United Campus Workers of Georgia stands in solidarity with the protests against police violence. A glance at the names above, knowing their stories and seeing the lack of accountability that the police faced in those cases also helps frame the profound emotion with which protesters have taken to the streets. This is only amplified by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, again suggesting that institutions of power think black lives do not matter. The labor movement must support the basic right to stand up against racial injustice, free from tear gas and rubber bullets.  

As a union for every employee of the University System of Georgia, we aim to represent the needs of our entire workforce, on campus and in our larger lives. The freedom to get to and from work without fearing police violence must go hand in hand with the fight for a living wage and safe working conditions. Only through uniting can we win the justice that every single one of us deserves: the right to a long, good life without fear.  

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