AFSCME Council 5 Commemorates Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Today, our union is celebrating Juneteenth, a day to commemorate the ending of slavery and the emancipation of people of color in the United States. Our state and nation are on the precipice of creating real, systemic change that will benefit all of our communities, recognize the disproportionate impact of policies and laws on communities of color, and secure legislation and policy change to recognize the shared humanity and dignity of all people -finally. In fighting for systemic change, we must continue to push for stronger federal and state employment protections for all working people who may experience racism, discrimination and hate in the workplace, an expansion of unionism within communities of color and in every location and sector to lift up the voices and economic, social, and political status of workers, and fight for affordable housing solutions and healthcare as a human right for all and not a privilege of the few.

While slavery in its historic form and prevalence has largely ended, newer forms of injustice have been created, including corporations taking advantage of incarcerated individuals and the for-profit private prison system that operates its business by advocating for legislation to increase criminal penalties, keeping people behind bars for longer periods of time, and focusing on the profit margin of the corporation and filling the bank accounts of its shareholders rather than public safety, rehabilitation, and lower recidivism. Our union has long been the champion to ban these immoral institutions once and for all and fully invest in our public facilities and corrections and public safety members. We will continue these efforts with renewed vigor. 

We pride ourselves on being a union of over 43,000 workers with a wide range of diverse opinions, political affiliations, sexual orientations and identities, faiths, race, gender, and backgrounds. Our strength is built on this diversity—we are a democratic organization made up of many strong voices, opinions, and identities.

Today we will reflect and continue the work to rebuild our communities rooted in equity, inclusion, and justice. Thank you, siblings.

Julie Bleyhl

Executive Director


Photo cred: Shutterstock, 1096127714