Resolution # 77A-19-07

Censuring President Trump for Racist Attacks on Congresswomen of Color

As Americans and trade unionists, we are strongly committed to the unity of all working people, of all races, creeds, and genders, in the struggle for social justice. We fight to make America a pluralistic, democratic society which will offer hope and opportunity to working people of all backgrounds. We work to make our country a haven of opportunity for those fleeing persecution and calamity across the world. 

We remain inspired by the words of the poet Emma Lazarus, etched on the Statue of Liberty: 

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That is the America we believe in. Apparently the President of the United States does not share this belief.

Our commitment to democratic values and fundamental human decency requires us to speak out against the President’s offensive, demagogic, dangerous, racist attacks on Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar. The President’s outrageous demand that these four women of color—three of whom were born in the United States, and the fourth who was a refugee from civil war and famine in Somalia—be “sent back” to the countries they came from, represents a dangerous new low in the level of Presidential discourse.

In particular, we must reject the “send her back” language, a despicable taunt deployed against African-Americans and earlier generations of immigrants. This language poses a particular danger to Congresswoman Omar, given the barely hidden networks of armed white supremacists whose hatred of Muslims hardly needs to be stoked by comments from the Oval Office and in campaign rallies across the country.

In this situation, we cannot forget the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, who, in 1946, after the end of World War II and the Holocaust, confessed his failure to stand up adequately against Nazism in its earliest years:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We cannot and will not be guilty of the same failure. We must speak up now.

Resolved: CWA condemns the divisive, racist “send them back, love it or leave it” rhetoric of the President of the United States. We call upon other unions, community organizations, legislative bodies, and individuals to issue similar calls for the President to end this rhetoric, on his own part and among his supporters. We especially call upon the President’s Republican colleagues, all too many of whom are silent in this controversy, to step up and denounce his un-American rhetoric. All decent Americans must stand together to denounce this behavior and show that we can be so much better than this. Our democratic values and fundamental human decency demand nothing less.