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We Believe Black Lives Matter

On Friday, SEIU Healthcare PA’s Executive-Board unanimously approved a resolution that commits our union to take action and work together with coalition partners to ensure “that all people in our society enjoy equal treatment by our law enforcement and criminal justice systems, regardless of the color of their skin or the zip code in which they live.” 

Full statement:

STATEMENT OF SEIU HEALTHCARE PENNSYLVANIA

Adopted Unanimously by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Executive Board — December 12th, 2014

BLACK LIVES MATTER. ALL LIVES MATTER.

WHEREAS, the recent decisions of separate grand juries not to issue indictments in connection with the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO – both unarmed African American men – have raised significant issues around race, police-community relations, and our criminal justice system;

WHEREAS, as nurses and healthcare workers our hearts go out to the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at this trying time;
WHEREAS, as union members we recognize the contributions of police officers who do an extremely important and dangerous job and upon whom we all depend to protect us from harm;

WHEREAS, too many people of color in our Union and communities live with deep anxiety and dread about what may befall their loved ones in interactions with law enforcement officers;

WHEREAS, too many Americans have come to believe that our criminal justice system is not capable of enforcing accountability when people of color and in particular young African-American men are brutalized at the hands of police;

WHEREAS, we are encouraged by the ongoing peaceful protests from the streets of Ferguson to Times Square in New York, and across our own state, through which our communities have come together to demand reform of a criminal justice system that applies one set of standards in its treatment of communities of color and the working poor, and a very different one in its treatment of the wealthy and corporations;

WHEREAS, we will never fulfill our true promise as a nation until every person in our society is respected and every community has an equal opportunity to thrive.

THEREFORE, the Executive Board of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania resolves as follows:

1. We applaud the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to investigate the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

2. We call for a thoroughgoing review of law enforcement policies and practices by Federal, State, and local authorities, followed by concrete and systemic reforms, to ensure that all people in our society enjoy equal treatment by our law enforcement and criminal justice systems, regardless of the color of their skin or the zip code in which they live.

3. We support the appointment of independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police brutality, especially incidents resulting in serious injury or death, to guarantee that the same prosecutors who work closely with law enforcement officers on a regular basis are not also those who investigate instances of possible serious misconduct.

4. We rededicate ourselves to building the movement for a just society free of poverty, racism, and violence, where black lives matter and all lives matter – equally and always.

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