The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) and its 70,000 union members, stand in solidarity with the millions of people protesting systemic racism in the United States and Canada, and elsewhere, and with those who continue to fight systemic racism the world over.

We are angered, outraged and sick in our hearts and souls by the brutal death of George Floyd in Minnesota. We share the pain of this loss. For those of us who strive for social justice and an equal world, we are starkly reminded that the struggle is far from over. It is hard to fathom how such hatred can exist today.

We believe that an injury to one is an injury to all. For many years – our diverse labour movement has participated in the struggle to make gains for a more equal world, though legislative and collective bargaining changes, which are intended to ensure that all workers can live and love in safety; and with the same rights that we all deserve, yet for only some of us, we take for granted.

Our collective call to action becomes even more critical when our laws that declare us equal are so egregiously violated by those in authority. To watch the violence, the ultimate act of hatred, happen so suddenly and without warning, speaks to a deep-rooted racist culture.

We need to name it and acknowledge that racism exists everywhere; and yes – also in our country and province. Racism has been used to generate wealth and prosperity for hundreds of years by discriminating against, destroying, and killing Black people and Black communities.

We have a responsibility to not only take a stand against violence on Black bodies, but to make sure we hold space for Black workers; and that we continue to defend the absolute right to protest against such injustices, even if those in power feel uncomfortable.

As we continue our work within our unions and with the broader community, we pledge to challenge racism and all forms of violence, to continue to work to eradicate systemic and individual forms of racism, police brutality and institutional marginalization.

But more than that – we will talk to each other about a better world, where love and justice prevail. We commit to using the anger we feel towards such deplorable actions, towards a renewed and strengthened promise to seize every moment to advocate, to rise up, to use our voices and energy to eradicate all forms of discrimination, to listen and support those who have been so wronged.

Mary Shortall

President, Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour

 

PDF version: NLFL Statement in Solidarity With People Fighting Systemic Racism