The senseless killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis last week was not just a tragedy for his family, it was an assault on America’s people of color, who include tens of thousands of NALC members, and an affront to human decency.
NALC knows that the death of Mr. Floyd is just the latest example of institutional racism that creates fear in the day-to-day lives of millions of African Americans and other minorities. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – our common rights as Americans – are not achievable in a state of fear. While we appreciate and honor the hard work, public service and social value provided by millions of police officers of goodwill, we stand with our members of color to demand long-overdue reforms to prevent the recurrence of what happened in Minnesota (and also in Georgia and Kentucky) in May.
NALC celebrates the right to peaceful protest but condemns those who have used this crisis to sow violence and destruction across the country. The irresponsible and criminal actions of the malevolent and misguided few who have rioted only damage the righteous cause of the many who are protesting to make progress and to win justice. Creating new victims does nothing to solve the problem.
More than a few post offices have been ransacked during the recent wave of civil unrest, and some letter carriers have been robbed on their routes. Such crimes harm postal employees and the citizens we serve. At a time when the pandemic has made our jobs more dangerous, the spreading social unrest raises new dangers for letter carriers. NALC is working with the Postal Service to make sure letter carriers remain safe.
As letter carriers, we are proud to be part of a vital institution that helps bind our nation together. As a union, we aim to be an organization that brings together members of all races, creeds and ethnicities in the spirit of love and solidarity. We embrace our nation’s core aspirational belief in “liberty and justice for all.” For that belief to be fully realized for any of us, it must be true for all of us. In the labor movement, we embrace a similar idea – an injury to one is an injury to all.
The crisis of police violence against people of color in America is not just a problem for minorities. It is crisis for all Americans that must be addressed. It requires all of us to accept the need for deep structural reform that respects the human rights of all while honoring the essential work of our police. Even as we battle a terrible pandemic and its economic effects, we must make that reform the vital work of our democracy.