American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National Vice President of Women’s and Fair Practices Augusta Y. Thomas has released the following statement (http://tinyurl.com/nzw44d8):
“The events in Ferguson, Mo. have shown us that challenges we’ve faced in the past still endure – that the struggles of communities of color and other marginalized groups are based on systematic injustices that are woven into the fabric of our nation. Across the country and around the world, our communities are angered, saddened and frustrated by the case of Michael Brown and many others whose lives ended much too early.
“The outpouring of anger, grief and pain isn’t just in Ferguson. It’s shown up in the streets of L.A., New York, Washington D.C. and many other communities across our nation. The hurt around the grand jury’s decision is shared by activists, protestors and anyone who has been worried their child won’t get equal treatment because of the color of their skin.
“Many institutions and systems that govern our society are wrought with racism, classism, sexism, ableism and other characteristics that are designed to marginalize and disenfranchise specific groups of people. That imbalance yields power to the privileged and at best, an unequal playing field for the rest of us.
“Having been a civil rights activist for more than 50 years, I am reminded of the words and actions of Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. Looking back, I am given hope that even in the darkest moments we can create a new reality for our country. It is time again to march and to protest and most of all, to raise our voices. It has been through organizing – from those who marched on Selma to the Dream Defenders today – that have declared ‘black lives matter.’
“Through labor organizations and workers’ rights groups we must continue to advance issues of equality and justice on the workroom floor. We will work with policy makers at every level of government to change the inequalities that are a blight on the promise of our democracy.
“AFGE and the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments will continue our goal of fair and equal treatment. We stand in solidarity with the Brown family and with those who have the passion, courage and strategies to continue to change the world.”