Fighting Racial Injustice


As educators, health care professionals, and unionists, we cannot be silent about the continued injustices against people of color in our country. We must condemn racist violence, like the violence that led to the death of George Floyd. We mourn for his family, for the pain of their loss and the way he was stolen from them.

We stand with our students, patients and members affected by these injustices, and with peaceful protesters across the country demanding justice. They also call for change, targeting racist institutions that do not reflect the ideals of a society that claims to believe in equality and justice for all.

UUP has a long history of commitment to social justice, and we stand steadfast in that commitment. Last week, I issued a statement condemning the racist violence that led to George Floyd’s death. You can read it here.

On June 20, UUP will join the digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington, the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders, and people of conscience. You can RSVP and find more information here.

The Poor People’s Campaign, the march’s organizer, has created a digital toolkit with sample posts, graphics and more ways to amplify the event.

Our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, has joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and hundreds of other organizations in sending a letter to Congress demanding it create a federal standard for when police officers can use force, to prohibit racial profiling, and to end a program that provides surplus military supplies to local law enforcement, including school police. Learn more here.

UUP encourages our members to be part of the solution as we move forward together. There are many ways to stand in solidarity; a list of events and solidarity actions are below:

June 4: The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus will hold 3 p.m. press conferences in Albany, Bronx, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Rochester, Staten Island and Syracuse in support of New York state police reform. Learn more here.

June 4: The Poor People’s Campaign will host a Moral Fusion Student Fellows Digital Town Hall at 9 p.m. via Facebook Live. Students and recent graduates will talk about the impact of campus closures, police violence, the economic crisis and COVID-19; they will also discuss the importance of organizing and mobilizing for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington June 20. Join at

June 6: CNY Black Lives Matter March, noon at Durkee Park – The Village Green in Homer. The march is being held to fight for equality for all. Please wear black. Signs are welcome and encouraged. Masks are required. Absolutely no violence will be tolerated. Follow @cny_blacklivesmatter on Instagram for more information.

June 8: NYSUT Virtual Vigil. More details coming soon.

June 20: UUP will join the digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington. The event starts at 10 a.m.

Masks should always be worn in public and social distancing should be practiced when possible. Members should consider their own health and only attend events if they are comfortable doing so.

Solidarity actions:

  • Encourage discussion of issues of race on your campus. In union meetings, classes, and other events, provide time to discuss racial injustices on your campus and work together for collective change. Students, faculty and staff of color should lead the discussions.
  • Stand with students. Our students are committed to social justice, and we should join and support them in peaceful protests. Reach out to student groups on campus, especially those led by students of color, and ask how UUP can help.
  • Take part in phone banking and text storming with the Poor People’s Campaign. Sign up for a 30-minute training session and learn more here.
  • Sign the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers’ online petition demanding justice here.
  • Sign the Color of Change petition to end violent policing against black people here.

Also, consider donating to:

  • The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
  • The Poor People’s Campaign, which supports people coming together to confront systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
  • Visit the Education Minnesota webpage, which includes actions to take, anti-racism resources and other organizations to donate to.

Email Amy Sheldon at about actions on your campus and in your community that we can help amplify. We welcome suggestions for additional organizations members should consider supporting.

This is a collective problem that requires a collective solution. UUP will keep a resource page with this information active.

As we educate ourselves, I encourage you to read “How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change” by President Barack Obama, here, and visit the resource page at here.

In solidarity,

Fred Kowal

UUP President