Since last summer, around the nation, the idea that “black lives matter” has been the subject of intense activism from many CWA members and CWA allied organizations.
Issues of systemic racism continue to plague the United States of America.
This racism plays out in many ways: in youth unemployment rates among people of color that approach 25 percent or more; in the enormous disparity between total wealth in white versus African-Americans households; in separate and unequal systems of public elementary and secondary education; in enormous racial gulfs in post-secondary educational achievement.
This racism is revealed in the divisions in many cities across the nation following the deaths of young African-American men during encounters with police - when deep seated fears within our communities come to the forefront.
Neither the men nor women who work in the front lines of law enforcement nor the people who belong to minority communities created the conditions of racial division that persist in our country and divide working people along artificial lines.
The vast majority of the men and women who work in law enforcement do so out of a sincere effort to serve and protect the community and everyone in it, without regard to race, color or ethnicity. Yet, we also cannot ignore the widening gap of trust between the people who work in this profession and many in the communities they serve.
Closing this gap requires that we address the underlying inequities that continue to divide working people in this country along racial and economic lines. We must oppose policies designed to marginalize minority communities and people of color, including the push to privatize education primarily in communities with high concentrations of African-Americans; attacks on public services using thinly veiled racial references that politicians use to stigmatize people who use public services and the workers who provide those services; trade and economic policies that destroy jobs in our big cities and small towns, many of which have large populations of African-Americans; and voter suppression laws that suppress the rights of minorities to vote.
In the labor movement, we have too often allowed ourselves to be divided along artificial racial lines - divided actively by overt displays of prejudice or divided passively by willful negligence in challenging inequality, divisions that always make us all weaker.
Racial inequality has always been a favored tool of those who wish to weaken and divide working people.
Confronting and ameliorating the reality of racial prejudice and structural racial inequality is the only means to effectively challenge this problem.
Resolved: CWA is committed to equality and believes that the lives of every person matter. As long as powerful elites try to divide us by exploiting and oppressing the African-American community, CWA remains dedicated to the principle that “black lives matter” and “all lives matter.”
Resolved: CWA reaffirms its commitment to support policies and practices designed to dismantle structural racial inequality, within our union, the labor movement, in our interactions with employers, and at all levels of government. CWA will continue to fight for equal opportunity in employment, housing, education, and the funding of public services, and to ensure that all citizens are treated with the due process that is their legal right.
Resolved: CWA will continue to support policies that provide the men and women who work in law enforcement with the resources they need to do their critical job of protecting the public. The men and women who work in law enforcement deserve full, transparent and impartial investigations into allegations of misconduct. At the same time, CWA will work to ensure that law enforcement personnel are not themselves made the victims of racial division which dishonors the profession and endangers the lives of those who work in it.