Statement on Ongoing Events in Ferguson, Missouri
08/21/2014 - By APWU General Officers Mark Dimondstein, President; Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice-President; Elizabeth Powell, Secretary-Treasurer
Fair-minded people from all walks of life are deeply concerned and outraged by the killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. There is no justification for this young man’s death.
Police on the scene refused to obtain emergency medical help and left the 18-year-old’s body lying in the street for hours after his death, underscoring the fact that they considered Michael Brown as less than human.
The events following the killing are also most disturbing. In response to the protests, local police launched a military-style crack-down that included armored vehicles and machine guns aimed at protesters. Several reporters were arrested.
Unions stand for good living-wage jobs for all workers, respect for and equality of all people, and justice in the workplace and in the neighborhoods in which we live. As postal workers, we live and work in every community across the nation, including Ferguson. At a time when we are reaching out to the people throughout the nation to defend the public Postal Service and good union jobs, we must also stand with our communities. Martin Luther King put it so well when he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP, the leader of the Moral Mondays Movement, uplifted our recently-concluded national convention with his wise words: Labor rights and Civil Rights must be united in the same struggle. So it must be in Ferguson, MO.
We urge our members and locals to speak out, peacefully protest, and demand justice for Michael Brown’s family and community. We seek an end to the militarization of local police forces. We seek a new day, where execution-style killings of unarmed African-American teenagers such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown take place no more.