Dear Working Washington / Fair Work Center community:
Our organization stands in solidarity with the movement for Black lives and the powerful protests in Seattle, across Washington, and all across this country. We join the call for dignity and justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, James Scurlock, David McAtee, Charleena Lyles, and the thousands of other Black lives taken by police officers and white supremacist violence.
We condemn Seattle’s dangerous response to these ongoing protests, including the Seattle Police Department’s use of violent crowd control tactics to silence the voices of Black organizers and allies. Police have used tear gas, flash-bangs, pepper spray, and rubber bullets on protestors without provocation. We call on Mayor Durkan to halt police escalation and to stop imposing curfews that discourage protesting and result in violence and mass arrests. We also call on all Washington leaders to stop using these tactics in communities throughout the state.
We know that there is no worker justice without racial justice. Workers’ rights organizations like ours must prioritize and raise up the issues faced by Black workers in and out of work. Many of our community members are directly impacted by racism and police violence, and our movement must support Black organizers who are on the ground fighting for justice.
Therefore, in the coming weeks we will amplify and support Black-led organizations that hold the police accountable, fight against racist violence, and lift up communities. We also commit to being a resource for Black workers and organizations. Black people are systemically denied access to jobs, disproportionately work in industries excluded from basic labor standards, and are experiencing disproportionate levels of unemployment in the current economic crisis.
And we join the call to defund police. In this moment and this economic crisis, we see a moral imperative to invest more in our communities and spend less on policing and violence.
Rachel Lauter, Executive Director
Working Washington / Fair Work Center
This statement was originally published June 3, 2020 on the Working Washington website.