On July 8, 2016, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union President and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice Marc Perrone made the following statement on the horrific shootings this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas:
“We once again wake up to the realization that there is hate, indifference, and injustice dividing and taking the lives of Americans. The needless deaths of two fathers, one shot selling CDs, the other reaching for his wallet, are the latest tragic examples that African Americans face not only injustice, but death at the hands of those sworn to protect justice.
“The events in Dallas, and the murder of five police officers who were protecting the rights of all us to speak out against such injustice not only fills us with heartbreak, it leads us to question the very direction of this nation.
“All of us who lead, in labor and out, every elected and community leader, our presidential candidates, must now face a stark choice – we will either come together to solve these problems that have led to these senseless deaths, or we will see our great nation torn apart by those who hate and wish to divide us.
“We cannot accept the status quo. We must do better.
“Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five officers in Dallas, are our most recent victims. We must act in their memory and the memories of the countless other victims before them who fell to similar tragedies. The time has come for more than moments of silence. The time has come for real action.
“Let us stop burying our fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, friends and neighbors, and begin to confront the problem we face head on. For the sake of the children and families who needlessly lost the ones they love, for the communities and the nation that has been scarred by these unspeakable acts of violence, the time is now for us to put our political divisions aside, and act.”
The AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice comprises members of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. Its purpose is to facilitate a broad conversation among local labor leaders around racial and economic disparities and institutional biases, and identify ways to become more inclusive as the new entrants to the labor force diversify.