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A Message from My Union

I am the treasurer of my union of faculty and staff at Community College of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA). Another officer asked me if our union should put out a statement about the recent hate crimes in the United States, so I drafted one. It was accepted, with some modifications and additions.

I am pleased to be part of a union that not only works to improve job conditions but also tries to look at the big picture—including at racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia. We sent the statement below to our thirteen hundred members.

John Braxton

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

We write to you today to acknowledge the terrible events of the past week. Our country has seen the racist murder of two black people in Kentucky, 14 pipe bombs sent to public officials and leaders, and the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh.

Although we have different relationships to those who were murdered in Kentucky or Pittsburgh, all of us are shaken by these horrific actions. We recognize that white nationalist anti-Semitism is part of a resurgent form of racism fueled by hatred not only of Jews but of black people, immigrants, and all people of color. And we recognize that the murder of African Americans is a continuation of the history of racist terror in our country that we need to reject and resist.

We know that racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia have a long, sordid history in our society. And we know that these vicious attitudes have been used over and over again to split up the overwhelming majority of the population into groups that attack each other while those at the top of the power structure maintain their control. But we also know that when we unify, our strength is in our diversity. We know that whether our ancestors were indigenous to this region, whether they arrived here fleeing from oppression, or whether they were forcibly brought here in slavery, our futures are inextricably bound to each other. There is an old saying in the labor movement: An Injury to One Is an Injury to All.

Although the recent events are discouraging to all of us, we must resolve to move forward. Now is the best time—the only time we have—to listen to each other and to learn from the tremendous diversity we are proud to have here at Community College of Philadelphia. Now is also the time for us to become more active in building our community. It is time to make sure that we vote next week for candidates whose policies advance the interests of the 99%, not the 1%. Now is the time to ask ourselves how we can participate fully in the democratic processes of our union to build a secure future for all of us.

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of union activists

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00