Editorial: More than 50 years later and still so much to be done 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Editorial: More than 50 years later and still so much to be done 
June 10
13:48 2020

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”— Martin Luther King Jr.

The citizens of this country are in the midst of a battle that we have been fighting for a very long time, a battle of racial inequality, systemic abuse, and injustice.

It is time to win this battle once and for all.

Across the nation over the past weeks, protesters are saying they have had enough. They are weary of the ongoing struggle for equality and equity, of the battle against systemic injustice, and the fear of being a person of color in America. The horrific, needless death of George Floyd on May 25 at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis is tragically all too familiar. And we are seeing our nation cry out in pain. It is the pain of generations of inequality and the pain of a nation divided.

It is shocking that in 2020, mothers in African American and minority communities still have to worry about the safety of their sons and daughters when simply going off to the store, going out for a jog, and/or being stopped at a traffic light.

This must end.

George Floyd is sadly one of many, many African Americans who have been the victim of racial profiling and brutality. The larger tragedy of our society is that this criminal activity did not start with Mr. Floyd. Or with Breona Taylor or Tony McDade, who also lost their lives in the past month for similar reasons. The names and stories stretch back generations and are part of the ongoing racial disparity and injustice that permeates our system. A product of 400 years of oppression, prejudice and fear.

We need real change

But we cannot just talk about it. We must DO something about it. Just like we saw civil rights legislation that came out of the demonstrations in the past, this tragedy and these demonstrations and clashes will need to result in legislation and reforms passed. PASSED and ENFORCED.

And while I do not want to vilify all men and women in blue, we cannot not turn away from the horror of George Floyd’s death – an American citizen begging for his life on an American city street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

This is not an on-the-sidelines hurt for me. I am an African American man, born and raised in the South and now living in an urban center, but I am speaking here as an American, as a union member, and I am speaking to all of us.

As Americans, we need to serve a warning to all who have the power — our representatives, our law enforcement officers, our leaders, our detractors — we are watching. And we are all committed to the safety and personal rights of ALL Americans.

But we must take action now — and we must make permanent change — for all of us.

Ray Curry, UAW Secretary-Treasurer

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