CT AFL-CIO Statement on Protests Against Systemic Racism

Sal Luciano, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, made the following statement about the protests against systemic racism that happened across Connecticut that were in response to the murder of George Floyd:

“No person of conscience can watch the video of George Floyd pleading for his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer and not understand that something is, and has been, deeply wrong in America.

“What happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and far too many unarmed people of color has happened for centuries. The only difference now is we have cell phones. It’s there for all of us to see.

“The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police is a reminder that racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. This is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is also a community issue and unions are part of the community.

“The protests that swept our state and our nation were precipitated by Floyd’s murder. They were about putting an end to police brutality. But they were also about combatting systemic racism that continues to play an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. While police accountability is rightfully at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we should also work to eradicate racism that has continued to persist throughout our society.

“Here are some examples of how racism continues to affect people of color on a daily basis.

“One in ten black men in his thirties is in prison or jail on any given day. One in six Latinos born in 2001 can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Black people are more likely to be required to pay bail and are more likely to have higher bail. Black women make tens of thousands less than white men with the same education. Black workers continue to face higher unemployment rates, fewer job opportunities, lower pay, poorer benefits, and greater job instability. Employers are more likely to consider white candidates with criminal records than black candidates with no such history. And in the middle of a pandemic, evidence suggests that black and Latino workers face much more economic and health insecurity from COVID-19 than white workers.

“These persistent differences reflect systemic barriers to people of color throughout our nation.

“We will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality. We are united unequivocally against the forces of hate who seek to divide this nation for their own personal and political gain at our expense. And we will do everything in our power to bring a better day out of this time of darkness and despair.”

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