June 20, 2015
Reprinted with permission from UAW Region 9A
The leadership of UAW Region 9A joins with the rest of the country in offering our deepest condolences to the friends, families and community of Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson and Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr, the members of the Emanuel AME Church who were murdered while they prayed.
There can be no doubt that Wednesday evening’s massacre was an act of racist terrorism and it is no coincidence that the gunman targeted people within a place that bears a long history in the black freedom struggle, whose founder was hung for his role in a rebellion against slavery. This was not an isolated incident, but an act aimed at destroying this legacy and undermining a community forged through struggle and resilience.
Our union and other unions have a long history of commitment to struggle against racism. We remain committed to this struggle as the cause for racial justice is interwoven into the UAW’s history: from the days of the struggles in the South, to the fight in South Africa against apartheid, to the current efforts of workers in the southern transnational auto industry to organize unions, to today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement. The labor and civil rights of Americans are inseparable and always have been.
We cannot afford to ignore social and economic inequities that deepen the racial divide in this country. Furthermore, we believe it is time to come together to enact laws which would result in a responsible system of gun ownership.
The strength of the labor movement comes from unifying workers across all social divisions. It is vital that we stand together in opposing systematic racist violence in all it's forms. As long as our African-American brothers and sisters remain under threat from racist violence, in homes, in the streets, in places of worship, then this struggle continues.
UAW Region 9A represents a wide range of workers in the public and private sector in eastern New York (including the New York City metropolitan area, the Hudson Valley and the Capital District area), Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Puerto Rico.