Around Our Regions: Strike for Black LivesSeptember 1, 2020
1199ers joined thousands of workers in 25 cities across the U.S. on July 20 for a national Strike for Black Lives.
The actions demanded that corporations and governments take sustained actions to dismantle systemic racism and address the oppressive conditions that sustain inequality in Black and Brown communities. The national day of action included healthcare and other service workers who walked off their jobs for eight minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of Black people who have died at the hands of police. In a demonstration of intersectionality, some events included climate activists who protested the often-deadly environmental conditions that plague Black, Brown, and poor communities.
Across 1199’s regions, member participated in a variety of actions. In Massachusetts, members kicked off their day of action at the State House in Boston, where they reminded elected officials that caregivers are battling multiple pandemics. Members chanted and carried signs calling on lawmakers and employers to support healthcare workers who overwhelmingly face the debilitating impacts of discrimination, low wages, poor staffing and inadequate health care. In New York City, members at Interfaith Medical Center and Brookdale Medical Center—both in Brooklyn—held actions at their institutions and were joined by numerous community supporters and elected officials.
“This isn’t just about today. Our members and our patients are dying in the streets,” said Michele Ned, an In-Service Coordinator at Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (A recent NYC neighborhood profile from New York City found Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant residents are more likely to live in poverty, be burdened by rent costs and face insecurity around necessities like transportation, clothing, housing, and health care.)
Ned expressed pride in the participation of her Interfaith coworker and added that sustained, movement-driven action is necessary for lasting change.
“We heal our patients by educating them. We can do the same thing with our society,” she said. “What we need to do that is resources and for elected people in office to hear our cries and pleas to support us and work with us.”