May 30, 2020

GEO stands in solidarity with those fighting for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN and for our neighbor Sha’Teina Grady El in Ypsilanti, MI. On May 25, Floyd was murdered by a police officer who knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes. On May 26 in our own county, Grady El was punched in the head by a sheriff’s office deputy before being arrested.  These incidents join an unacceptable but tragically consistent pattern of police violence against Black people, including Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, for which law enforcement is rarely held accountable.

GEO stands in solidarity with Black graduate students, undergraduates, lecturers, staff, faculty, and other workers at the University of Michigan and beyond. Black people are forced to grapple with the impacts of racist state violence even while coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting Black communities. Added to the ongoing challenges of facing institutional racism on a predominantly white campus, these combined crises form a heavy burden.

Anti-black racism and white supremacy have too long been the backbone of this country. It is because of this that police are able to use excessive force against Black people with impunity. We stand in solidarity with all those protesting for black lives across the nation. Throughout history, change has always seemed radical until it was achieved. But justice will never be handed out by the oppressor; it has always been fought for through direct action and organizing. We support the members of our union who experience anti-black racism firsthand and who fight for black lives within our own campus and our own communities. 

We encourage all GEO members who are able to channel their outrage and sadness into action. Today (Saturday 5/30), there is a socially distanced protest at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office at 1pm. For those who are able to donate, you can help by contributing to the following organizations:

GEO Statement on Justice for George Floyd and Sha’Teina Grady El