A LETTER FROM 1199SEIU PRESIDENT GEORGE GRESHAMJune 9, 2020
Dear Sisters & Brothers,
This is a surreal moment. I know I don’t have to tell you as caregivers about the ways COVID-19 has inflicted tragedy on our lives. This virus is an invisible enemy, inflicting visible pain on so many, but we are continuing to fight to save the lives that have been entrusted to us for care.
In addition to all of our work to fight COVID-19, we are also grappling with the reminder that race continues to influence the ways justice is delivered in our nation.
I was blessed to turn 65 this year. Many of you know I spent my formative years in the South, and I am blessed to have so many good memories of that time. I also remember the racism and discrimination I endured at the hands of people who considered me - and still consider me - a second class citizen. As a Black man, nothing hurts more than knowing that the same racism and discrimination my grandparents endured is still alive and well, and will likely be endured by my own grandchildren. I could easily be George Floyd.
Right now, before our very eyes, we are witnessing the very public breakdown of a system designed to bring justice and hold our society together. We are also witnessing the reaction of people who have been marginalized for far too long.
I am extremely grateful that I belong to an organization that fights for real freedom against oppression in every form. I am also grateful that this organization has the strength and resources needed to put a dent into what is hurting humanity in the United States right now. 1199SEIU remains on the frontlines in our shops, and in the fight against racial injustice. Today, the Executive Committee voted to donate to three organizations that are on the ground in Minnesota, fighting to bring justice where there seems to be none. Please take a moment to visit their respective websites and learn about the great work they are doing.
Let us continue to allow our unity and action as members of 1199SEIU to serve as an inspiration for all with whom we come in contact. Our workplaces, our respective states, and the nation as a whole are better because of the work we are doing to help fight for what we all deserve.
George Gresham President