Working Washington statement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement

As working people, we understand that racism is a serious, systemic problem — one that we must work together to address in our communities, our workplaces, and beyond. And we echo the truth of the call that “Black Lives Matter.”

For generations, communities of color and all those who believe in racial justice and equality have been engaged in the struggle to fix a broken justice system. This struggle is closely intertwined with the struggle for economic justice. In Washington State, the median wage for workers of color is $5 less than the median wage for white workers; 41% of workers of color are paid less than $15/hour.

We must not rest in any of these efforts until America becomes a more just society where every human being is respected, and every community has equal opportunity to thrive.

We have already witnessed too many premature deaths, too much pointless loss. The shooting of Michael Brown and the conflicts in Ferguson and across the country since then have been a painful reminder of the institutional racism and bias that confounds the aspirations and ideals of this country. Black and brown communities are disproportionately targeted; they experience a different system of justice and live in a different economy. We have seen this in Seattle, like in Florida, in Brooklyn, and in Cleveland. It is all too familiar.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of Michael Brown, and all those who loved this young man whose life was cut tragically short. Michael Brown will never come back to them.

We also mourn with those who had hoped the circumstances of his death would be aired publicly and explored fully under the law. And our hearts go out to the countless black and brown souls who have been lied to, abused, or killed by police, whether or not it was caught on camera. 

We support the continued calls for justice in their names, and we lend our voice as a workers’ organization to national calls for police accountability and criminal justice reform, and embrace local struggles to realize the deep truth of three words: “Black Lives Matter.”  

Initial signers: Malcolm Cooper-Suggs; Sejal Parikh; Chris Hineline; bdirahman Yusuf; Ja'shawn Williams; Alex Hoopes; Eric Taylor; Luke Bridges; Michael Church; Bobby Snyder; Garrett Mills, Jr.; Rachel Jaworski; Henry Bennett; lizabeth Atkins-Pattenson; Stacey Grigsby; Jacinda Butler