Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd.

These are just more three names to add to the long list of victims from terror, murder, injustice, and racism that spans over centuries of our history. As President of Colorado WINS I want to reaffirm our commitment to stand in solidarity with our black, brown, Native American, and Asian sisters and brothers who have been subjects of increased hate crimes, fueled by politicians’ scapegoating.

As an African-American man, I have seen the toll systemic racism has taken on my community up close and personal. I feel that it goes without saying that these issues have existed for far too long. What needs to happen at this point is to see it not as just an African-American problem, but as an American problem that we all need to address.

Over the past weeks, we’ve witnessed several murders of black and brown people across the country, which highlight the pervasive culture of violence perpetrated against our friends, family, and neighbors of color. This is a stark reminder that as state employees we pride ourselves on protecting our communities, there is still so much work to do to make our neighborhoods safe for all people.

Working people have bridged our differences to form unions so that we can fight for a better future for all families. But we know we cannot achieve economic justice without racial justice, and we cannot be silent when our communities of color are crying out in pain and anger at the systemic oppression that is killing their families.

Our labor movement grew out of protests and I applaud our COWINS members and everyone in our community who is standing up to make their voices heard and make a difference. I encourage you to have those difficult conversations with your friends and families about racial injustice and the inequities that they perpetuate. This is why we need to stand up to hatred and bigotry in solidarity with protesters across our nation and around the world.

Our union is working on developing a forum that will allow a space for members to have those conversations about race in America. I know that we all come from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We have all experienced what it means to be an American in different ways. So we need to respect those differences while still allowing frank and open discussions. Be on the lookout for future announcements as we develop our resources for responding to this ongoing crisis.

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