BLACK LIVES MATTER
AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL
AFTA UPRISING SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
We, the members of AFT academics, are horrified by the murder of George Floyd on May 25 and the pattern of racist police violence in the United States. We unequivocally support people protesting George Floyd’s murder and condemn the violence perpetrated by law enforcement around the country in response to these protests.
Although the academic community may think of ourselves and our work as separate from the structural violence of the racist police state, the university is not innocent. The protests around the country are a reminder that we must call out, confront, and dismantle the structures that uphold racism wherever we find them. The university is not exceptional.
In the light of this uprising, universities must reconsider their relationships with local police. Too often, universities invite municipal police onto their campuses, threatening the safety of the minorities in their community. We applaud the student government of the University of Minnesota for successfully pushing their administration to cut ties with the police. In addition to shutting down cooperation between campus security and local police, universities must examine the harm and failures of their own campus security teams that operate by the same oppressive playbook, protecting property rather than promoting safety for all members of the community.
While it is important to recognize our position as academic workers within institutions that too often reproduce systemic racism and violence, we must also recognize our position as workers and community members more broadly. The effort to transform the academy not only into a less racist institution, but into an actively anti-racist one, must be ongoing. However, we also have a responsibility to stand with our Black comrades leading the current uprising against racist police violence in our communities.
As union members, we know that meaningful solidarity cannot be limited to rhetorical gestures but must involve concrete action. We encourage our fellow AFTA members, and all academic workers, to take one or more of the following actions:
SIGN the Scholars for Black Lives Collective letter to demand divestment from institutions of harm and investment in Black students, their families and communities.
DONATE to bail and legal defense funds.
LEARN about racism, state violence, community resistance, and restorative justice.