We must choose sides: On protecting our communities against bigotry and hatred

August 16, 2017

by Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

Over the weekend our country witnessed a turning point in the modern civil rights movement.

On Saturday white supremacists, members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups held a rally in Charlottesville, VA—and when anti-racist counter-protesters confronted them, the white supremacists killed at least one person and injured 19 others.

The slain was Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old white woman and paralegal who friends say always stood up for what she believed in.

But Heyer’s death isn’t the turning point here. Countless black and brown people have died at the hands of white supremacy in the past year alone.

What’s different about Charlottesville—and America in 2017—is that white supremacists no longer feel the need to hide under white hoods. They feel safe to spread racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred out in the open. They feel safe to threaten our communities.

Our President and others believe that the violence that unfolded over the weekend, and Heyer’s senseless death, can be blamed on “both sides”. They are wrong.

And let me be perfectly clear about which side our union is on.

UDW stands for dignity, equality, and justice. We believe that all people are created equal. We believe that racial justice is vital and necessary. We believe that you are either on the side of justice, or you are on the side of the oppressor.

We don’t just choose the side of justice because it’s the right thing to do. We choose justice because our union is made up of nearly 100,000 low-wage home care workers who provide care for our state’s low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Our workers are a majority women and people of color. We live in diverse and beautiful cities across the state of California. We care about our communities, and we do not want to see them torn apart by racism and hatred.

We support all who stand for justice with us, and those who fight back against white supremacy and bigotry in the hope of keeping our communities safe and peaceful.

 

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 100,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

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