Statement on the Murder of Daunte Wright, Ongoing Protests, and Ways to Help


Dear Members and Friends,

We write to you at a moment in which our Black members, friends, students, faculty, and staff are again in mourning, and the pain of the last year has been further compounded. We write to share information about what recently happened near Minneapolis on April 11th, and to share ways in which you can help.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, was murdered by a white Brooklyn Center, MN police officer near Minneapolis, after he was pulled over for a minor issue. Daunte was a son, a brother, a father, a partner, and a friend, and his loss is deeply felt by his family and his community, who are now demanding justice.

Daunte’s death occurred mere miles away from where Derek Chauvin has been on trial for the murder of George Floyd not one year ago. It bears chilling and tragic similarities to the murder of Philando Castile by St. Anthony, MN police in 2016, after they pulled him over for a broken tail light. The Black communities of the Minneapolis area have seen their existing pain compounded by yet another senseless loss.

A curfew has been placed on the Minneapolis area in an attempt to prevent the community from expressing their pain, grief, and outrage in the streets, as is their right. Police continue to violently attack protestors who have taken to the streets to demand justice for Daunte, firing flash grenades and deploying tear gas. The National Guard has been activated in the Twin Cities metro area, while the familiar rhetoric about “rioting” and “looting” has been used to vilify mourning demonstrators. It is apparent that, again, police have prioritized the protection of private property over the protection of Black lives and over justice for Daunte Wright’s murder. Folks on the ground need tangible support. We stand in solidarity with all protestors in Minneapolis.

To our Black members and friends: please know you can reach out to the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Caucus at, who connect students of color on campus, conduct outreach to faculty and undergraduates, and amplify the voices of Black and Indigenous folks and other People of Color, both in GEO and in the larger campus community. You can also reach out to our officers at at any time.

To our non-Black members: please remember this is a difficult time for many of your friends, colleagues and students, and for many members of staff with whom we share this campus – be empathetic, be flexible, and be ready to be supportive or to give space. Racism and white supremacy are structural in nature; take time to reflect on your own role within these systems and how you can support Black-led initiatives.

As we wrote last May, the very institution of policing, and the institutions of this country, are built on anti-Black racism and white supremacy, including police unions that work to shield police officers from accountability. One result of this institutional racism and white supremacy is racial profiling during traffic stops, leading to a much higher rate of stops by police on Black and Latinx drivers and in many cases, the use of excessive force against Black people with fatal consequences. These are more than statistics – these are people with full lives that are changed, disrupted, or ended prematurely. Daunte Wright should be alive today, and his family and community deserve justice. Until then, they need support and contributions from wherever possible.

Brooklyn Center is home to many Black, Latinx, and Southeast Asian families, has several food deserts, and is now being terrorized by the National Guard in a moment of grief and mourning. Below we have listed ways to support Daunte Wright’s family as well as the community of Brooklyn Center and local protestors. We encourage members and friends to contribute where possible, and to circulate these resources to others in your networks.

How to Help:

GEO Statement on White Supremacist, Anti-Asian Attack in Atlanta

GEO grieves with our Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) members, community allies, students, staff, faculty, friends, and family, and strongly condemns the anti-Asian, white supremacist violence wrought in Atlanta on the 16th of March. We mourn the murders of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Kim, Sun Cha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng, as well as Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels, who were also killed in the attacks. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, the lone survivor, remains in intensive care. Another racist attack by a white man, on a 76-year-old elderly woman named Xiao Zhen Xie, occurred on the following day in San Francisco; she thankfully survived this attack but was forced to fight for her life.

Anti-Asian racism, hate crimes, and harassment are not new, and indeed the exclusion and dehumanization of Asian people, and the fetishization of Asian/ AAPI women, are systemic crises that arise repeatedly in the history, legislation, imperialist foreign policy, public rhetoric, military interventions/ war crimes, policing (including ICE’s deportation of 33 Vietnamese refugees this week), and media of this country. Harmful, racist, white supremacist narratives peddled and promoted by public officials and politicians (across the political spectrum) and nationalist groups during the COVID-19 pandemic have only increased the severity of these phenomena – Stop AAPI Hate reported that nearly 4,000 hate crimes against Asian folks were reported to them between March 2020 and February 2021. 

These targeted murders by a white nationalist man and the shameful excuses and apologia offered by some media outlets and by the Georgia sheriff’s spokesman further highlight the impunity with which violent white supremacy can operate while communities of color are over-policed and are criminalized. 

This attack must be understood as the intersection of anti-Asian racism and misogynistic gender-based violence, and as part of a broad phenomenon of racist violence targeting immigrant and undocumented workers, including sex workers. It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out against these despicable forms of hate and to stand in solidarity with our Asian siblings.

We have provided an initial list of organizations and funds accepting donations, resources, and events below. We will continue to update as we become aware of others to add. 

We also want to offer GEO’s BIPOC Caucus as a resource for amplifying the voices of people of color, including AAPI folks, within this union and in the larger University of Michigan community, including but not limited to the voices of undergraduates and staff. Any members of our community who identify as BIPOC are welcome to bring concerns to the caucus. To get involved, email


Campus Events

Statements & Resources from Campus Units & Individuals

GEO 3550 Stands in Solidarity with Graduate Workers of Columbia

The graduate student workers of Graduate Employees’ Organization 3550 (University of Michigan) stand in full and firm solidarity with the Graduate Workers of Columbia (UAW Local 2110), who are and have been engaged in a two-year long struggle for a fair contract. Last spring, GWC members voted 96% in favor to authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike; GWC is ready to fulfill this mandate and strike if they do not receive a fair contract by Monday, March 15th, 2021.

GWC is demanding a contract that guarantees improvements to health care, better childcare support, fair wages and compensation, real recourse for harassment and discrimination, protection for international workers the creation of union shops, and recognition of the NLRB-certified bargaining unit.

Columbia University HR has engaged in intimidation tactics, proposing methods of surveillance and threatening withholding of pay and demanding student workers sign into a website to confirm that they are working, otherwise forfeiting payment, stipends, and financial aid. Their intention is to bust organizing efforts and break GWC’s resolve and mandate to strike. We recognize and condemn these shameful and retaliatory attacks on workers and their intentions to harm the union. The University of Michigan engaged in similarly despicable behavior when they filed an injunction against GEO 3550 last September. Do not give in – do not let them intimidate you!

We are encouraging CGW not to back down or give into these slimy tactics, and encourage all of our members and allies to offer full support to GWC through their hardship fund and by signing up for virtual picket shifts next week.

Read more:

Follow on social media:

Donate to the hardship fund: 

Sign up to join the GWC virtual picket line: 

Sign up for in-person picketing with GWC if you are in New York! 

See picket line policies here:  

GEO Grievance Committee Wins Settlement for International Graduate Students

Each summer, a couple dozen international grad students participate in a course called ELI 994. The GEO contract guarantees that participants in this program get a $45 a day stipend, but this past summer, U-M argued that they did not need to provide the stipend because the program was online and participants were not in Ann Arbor.

We grieved the issue back in September and U-M continuously refused to settle. We announced plans to take the case to arbitration and it took until one week before the arbitration hearing for U-M to give us a settlement offer.

After many intense rounds of negotiations, GEO has won a deal that guarantees 75% of the stipend to all ELI 994 participants from this past year and 50% of the stipend if the program is online next year.

Given that arbitration is a crap shoot and U-M’s first two settlement offers were considerably smaller (U-M even tried to push for 0% of the stipend for next year’s participants if it’s online), this is a huge win for the ELI 994 participants, guaranteeing them each over $700!

Congratulations to all grievants and to the very persistent Grievance Committee! This victory demonstrates the real importance of union power!

Statement of Solidarity with Latinx student group La Casa regarding the reinstatement of the Provost Award

The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) stands in solidarity with La Casa and is in full support of their demands that the University of Michigan financially support the enrollment of low-income students of color through scholarship programs. The Provost Award, a scholarship program which functioned to support low-income students and students of color, was recently replaced with the Victor’s Award; the impact that this shift has had on Latinx student enrollment is dire. As La Casa’s statement indicates, Latinx student enrollment has declined this year even as overall incoming class size has increased. This is unacceptable. The University must honor its commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism by investigating this decline in enrollment and financially investing in recruiting and supporting the enrollment of students of color. The University’s austerity measures should not disproportionately impact students of color. President Mark Schlissel’s response, which dismissed La Casa’s concerns and refused further conversation, is also unacceptable and shows an unwillingness on the part of administration to take the needs of students of color seriously. 

GEO understands this decline as one symptom of a larger web of issues that demonstrate how racism proliferates within the University, and we stand with La Casa, as well as the larger Students of Color Liberation Front, as they work to combat racism at the University of Michigan.   

[Updated 2/5] GEO maintains La Casa’s message that the Victors Award does not adequately support low-income, out-of-state students. We demand that a meeting be set up with La Casa to seriously discuss the impact of the Victors Award. We also demand that data, if does exists, be released to corroborate claims that the disproportionate decrease of first-year Latinx, Black, and Native American students can be attributed mainly to COVID-19 and not the major financial policy switch from Provost Award to Victors Award. 

BIPOC Caucus, GEO 3550