Publish date: June 3, 2020
The Labor Center expresses our solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and the millions of people throughout the country who are outraged at the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade as well as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. These killings are only the latest in a long history of state-sanctioned violence against Black people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated racial and economic inequality in this country. Blacks and other communities of color are dying at a much higher rate than others. And unemployment and economic dislocation disproportionately hurt Blacks and other communities of color. Many workers who return to their jobs are at risk, face unsafe conditions, and lack basic protective equipment, as many corporations value profits over people’s lives.
From the 1965 Watts Rebellion, to the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest, to the 2020 mass protests we are currently witnessing, there has been an ingrained pattern of racial injustice, police abuse, and economic inequality that have provoked massive resistance. There is no excuse for the staggering racial and economic disparities in a city with some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world, existing beside massive homeless encampments.
California is the 5th largest economy in the world. It is not a lack of resources we face, it is a lack of compassion and resolve to demand and achieve justice for Black communities. We need to end the racial profiling and criminalization of Black people, end mass incarceration, end mass detention and deportation, and invest in our schools, health care, housing, transportation, and quality jobs for all.
The UCLA Labor Center is dedicated to promote nonviolence and social change, and we call for an end to racialized plantation capitalism. Together, we must build a powerful movement for racial and economic justice starting with the proclamation that Black Lives Matter. Our future and the future of generations to come depend on it.
Lola Smallwood Cuevas
Gaspar Rivera Salgado