The brutal murder of George Floyd ripped open the scars of our nation’s centuries-old history of racism and bigotry. Even worse, it was not an isolated incident but one in a long, destructive series of violent acts against African Americans that occur with appallingly predictable frequency.
As a union founded in 1864 in the midst of the Civil War, the OPCMIA has a profound understanding of the lethal toll of racism on our society, and a fierce commitment to racial, social and economic justice. We stand in solidarity with all peaceful protesters demanding accountability for Mr. Floyd’s murder and an end to discrimination, bigotry, inequality and oppression at every level of our society.
We also condemn those who seek to deny peaceful protesters their constitutional right to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of dissent. It is sickening to see the contrast between the tear gas and rubber bullets used to attack non-violent demonstrators across from the White House on June 1st with the tolerance shown to armed protesters who marched on their State Capitols demanding their states reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To anyone who doubts that racism is alive and well in 2020, this is all the evidence to the contrary one needs.
Now is a time for leadership that heals, rather than inflames; that solves problems rather than worsen them; that unites rather than divides. As a proud union representing workers who reflect America in all its brilliant diversity, the OPCMIA will always seek to be a force for good, to bring us together on behalf of a society in which justice, tolerance, inclusiveness and equality prevail at long last.
Daniel E. Stepano