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UC-AFT Statement on Police Murder of George Floyd


June 1, 2020


UC-AFT shares in the grief and rage at police brutality and calls for immediate justice to right present and historical wrongs. The police murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other Black and brown people are intolerable, as is the political culture that fails to protect people such as Ahmaud Arbery from those wielding deadly weapons in the name of law enforcement.


Militarized police violence that escalates peaceful expressions of protest into conflict is likewise abhorrent. We recognize the decades-long looting of Black and brown communities through disinvestment, gentrification, and austerity, and we hope that the righteous anger of today’s protesters will be heard without the interference of opportunists who seek to derail a powerful movement.


We work at a university whose administrators have armed its own internal police force and authorized violence against peacefully demonstrating community members, who are often people of color. UC police officer John Pike pepper-spraying undergraduates at UC Davis, UC police forcing an AFSCME 3299 member to the ground at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz using military surveillance technology and spending $300,000 a day for riot police who beat graduate students, UC Irvine police arresting and bringing criminal charges against a Black alumna for attempting to obtain a transcript, UC police shooting students with pellets at a Board of Regents’ meeting at UC Riverside--these are just some of the more visible and public affronts to the safety and dignity of our university community.


As educators, we must strive to counteract the impacts of institutionalized racism on our students and mitigate the traumas and everyday slights they have endured. As unionists, our work in the labor movement must directly challenge the structural racism that authorizes the police to commit homicide. As activists, we must continue raising our voices in protest until white supremacy is vanquished and economic and political inequities are leveled.


We call on all UC-AFT members to do anti-racist work in our classrooms and libraries and to take political action to dismantle systemic oppression. Many already are. Here are some additional ways to contribute:

  • Demand that political leaders at the city, county, and state level match their expressions of empathy for the victims, survivors, and protesters with concrete actions that prioritize investment in Black, brown, and working-class communities rather than additional surveillance and policing. The People’s Budget in Los Angeles is one such project to support.
  • Hold elected officials accountable for the police forces whose budgets they control.
  • Press UC leadership to address institutional racism more effectively and dedicate the considerable resources and privileges of our campuses to achieving political and economic justice. This includes de-militarizing the UC police.
  • Join your local Black Lives Matter chapter.
  • Donate to Black Lives Matter.
  • Contribute to a bail fund to help arrested protesters get out of jail.
  • Follow the suggestions of the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
  • Read to understand racism and fight white supremacy.


UC-AFT Executive Board

Mia McIver, President

Daniel Schoorl, Vice President for Organizing

Carla Arbagey, Vice President for Grievances

Miki Goral, Secretary-Treasurer

John Rundin, Vice President for Legislation