"Riots are the language of the unheard" -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this time of prejudice and injustice, we turn to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for advice and inspiration. His words are as true today as they were 50 years ago. While we were focused on countering the effects of the pandemic to our work and our lives, another person of color was brutally murdered and the world has risen up to protest the injustice of it all. These events are not new and have been plaguing our society for decades but most people haven’t been listening. It took the combination of a quarantine, weak leadership that lacks compassion, economic stress and the recording of a blatant crime for us to pay attention. This can never be allowed to happen again. Many of us in our union family belong to demographics that are threatened by intolerance and when one of us is threatened, all of us are threatened.
In a union, we are all equal. We are all worthy of the dignity of a safe work environment. We are all worthy of a wage and benefits that will take care of us and our families. We are all worthy of health care and dignity in retirement. Everyone, including those who are not in a union, deserves these things and that is why we fight.
As we begin Pride Month which honors our LGBTQ+ brothers, sisters, and kin whose Queer Rights Movement began with the Stonewall Riots, we hold out the hope that this moment, this tipping point which began with a knee, will end with equality for all our brethren. They deserve it and they are us. Their struggle is our struggle. We care for their children as we would for our own and we will not rest until this work is done.
This is undeniably a dark time for our society, country, and world in general. The forces of racism, hatred, envy, ignorance, and greed are allied against us and dug in for the fight. The reality of this situation is harsh, though not for us but for them. Those who are driven by hatred, privilege, and racism realize that there are more of us than them, that their days are numbered and they are afraid. Like any trapped wild beast, they are lashing out and will fight with every dying breath. Our nation was founded from oppression and while the fight may be long, we will prevail.
These are trying times and change is always hard. We are at the tipping point and we will get through this, like all things, by working and standing together.