June 3, 2020
A Statement of Solidarity from the Faculty and Staff of the School for Workers:
Like most in our country, we at the School for Workers (SFW) are horrified, saddened, and angry at the ongoing systemic brutality that our Black sisters and brothers continue to endure in our country.
The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin as officers watched, the murder of Breonna Taylor by Louisville officers while she slept, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by vigilantes in Brunsick, Georgia as he jogged, all join a list of unjust deaths at the hands of agents of the state.
As scholars of labor studies and education, we teach about economic justice, social movements and inequality to working people. There is no denying that overt and systemic racism are at the center of this injustice. For hundreds of years fear and violence have been perpetuated by the state against Black Americans and these practices have been embedded within our economic, social, and political structures. Black Americans are unjustly dying, economically struggling, and they are demanding change.
We can only imagine the hurt Black America is feeling during this trying time. We believe that it is urgent to get immediate justice for the families and communities of the recently slain. We will contribute to this effort as best we can, and also support other organizations who have led on this work for many years.
Everyone deserves to work and live in a community that is healthy, equitable and protects its members. These past few weeks have painfully illuminated that this vision is out of reach for millions of Americans living in an inherently unequal system; where Black Americans are often paid less, are less likely to own a home, more likely to be incarcerated, suffer from health risk factors that increases their chances of death from COVID-19, and—as we’ve seen again—are often outright murdered because of their race. As a country, our survival depends upon doing better.
The mission of the SFW is to advance the empowerment of working people, labor organizations and the community. Our values include a commitment to the broader socioeconomic goals of working people, including the advancement of civil rights, efforts to raise living standards, participation in social institutions of under-represented and disadvantaged groups, and creation of meaningful employment opportunities for all workers. We will continue to work for these values, and support those working toward a system where all can thrive, where workers can live and work in communities that are healthy, equitable and fulfilling. We look forward to working together in solidarity for lasting change to building a more equitable and just society.
Black Lives Matter!
Your UW-Madison Faculty and Staff