July 09, 2020

WIARA Statement on the Black Lives Matter Movement

For Immediate Release
July 9, 2020

Gary Mitchell, President, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans
608-220-5734, gdmitchell@wisc.edu
Alex Brower, Executive Director, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans
414-949-8756, wiaraexedir@gmail.com

Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans Statement on the Black Lives Matter Movement
Seniors and Retirees stand in Solidarity with calls for change

At the Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans, we believe that Black Lives Matter. The protests that have erupted all over the nation – and specifically here in Wisconsin – are a great demonstration of regular people working for change. We stand firmly with the Black Lives Matter Movement and their calls for justice, equality, and equity. All lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter. Black lives are the lives of our sisters and brothers in the workplace and community.

We call on our sisters, brothers, and members to join any protests they safely can. We also call on all protest to be civil and non-violent. WIARA condemns the acts of vandalism and violence that have accompanied the otherwise peaceful protests across the country. However, we do understand that some of these actions are the product of generations of injustice.

As far as the police are concerned, we support the right of every worker to be represented by a union. However, individual police officers need to be held accountable for their actions just like every other public employee. We ask the police unions to consider the historical consequences of their actions: are you allied with the working class, or are you strengthening systems of oppression?

In addition, it is obviously unreasonable that huge swaths of local budgets are consumed by police departments. City governments and employees have faced painful austerity for years while police budgets have generally grown in both real dollars and ratios of local budgets. We agree with the sentiment of the protest movement that it is time to be reasonable about how much of local budgets go to one department. Like a lot of Americans, we are also concerned with the growing militarization of local police departments. There is no need to have local police departments equipped with the weapons of war.

WIARA calls on Organized Labor to unite to create a world where every human life is valued, and everyone is respected under the law.

In Solidarity,
The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans

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