CGEU Conference Support for the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

CGEU Conference Support for the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Passed at CGEU 2015 in Amherst, MA – August 08, 2015

WHEREAS,​the United States is in the midst of a national crisis of police violence against people of color, and overwhelmingly black people, and this crisis is of epidemic proportions, now counting at least one black life taken by police or security forces every week across the country and with a total of 678 police killings since January 1, 2015 [1]​; and

WHEREAS,​police brutality against black people reaches into every corner of the United States, north and south, east and west, and affects every kind of person, young and old, trans or cisgender; and because these instances of police brutality continued unabated across the US and Canada, acts of protest, mobilization, and rebellion have resurged in a sustained way across the country, drawing on the legacy of the Black Freedom Struggle; and

WHEREAS,​the explosion of protest and rebellion last summer in Ferguson, MO served to shine a spotlight on the issue of police brutality and to arouse millions of people around the US, Canada, and around the world to action, and

WHEREAS, t​he labor movement, as the potential champion for the interests of the immense majority of our society, and as the most racially integrated movement in the US and Canada, has an obligation to support the aims and means of the #BlackLivesMatter movement; and

WHEREAS,​the progressive wing of the labor movement has a proud history of supporting the fight for racial justice and equality, dating back to the beginning of the 20th ​century but also through the 1950s and 1960s, when many of our parent unions supported the struggle against Jim Crow in the US South, and our support today would follow in these proud footsteps; and

WHEREAS,​police unions, in contrast to the progressive record of organized labor, have regularly sought to advance the militarization of the police and policies extending police impunity while defending individual officers who commit racist murders,

WHEREAS,​numerous unions and labor leaders like the United Federation of Teachers [2]​, the Teaching Assistants Association [3]​, ATU Local 689 [4], UFCW president Joe Hansen [5]​, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka [6]​, among others, have already indicated their support for the movement and despite any and all of their shortcomings, we desire to further this support and transform it into action by our local unions and members in solidarity with local #BlackLivesMatter organizing; and

WHEREAS,​as delegates to the CGEU conference, we recognize that we are a self-selected group of union activists who are committed to the fight for social justice, and we aim to change the stance of our own International unions to one of robust and enthusiastic support and solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement;

BE IT RESOLVED,​that all delegated representatives at the conference of the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions commit themselves to return home to their unions and organizing committees and,

  1. Engage in a campaign to educate and win over their local memberships to support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement,
  2. Work within their own central labor councils, statewide bodies, and parent unions to win over affiliated bodies to give resources and material aid to #BlackLivesMatter organizations and actions, mobilize their union memberships for local campaigns, issuing public statements to formally put themselves on record in support of the movement, and preparing where necessary for the police union question,
  3. Recruit our unions to help support the development of international expressions of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that will continue to engage in organizing across the US and Canada.

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