Friday, March 23, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. -- The murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida touched so many hearts because he was gunned down in the midst of a simple, every day experience.  He was simply walking down a street—coming from a store where he bought skittles and iced tea for his younger brother.  He was a victim of the irreparable damage wreaked from fear incited by his mere presence, his mere appearance – also part of the everyday experience, particularly for black men in America. 

 Trayvon was someone’s son, 17 years old and unarmed, taken violently and too young from our world because of still-pervasive visceral reactions to skin color in America.

 When devastating tragedies like the murder of Trayvon happen, when violent racial assaults and murders occur, when immigrant women face sexual abuse and brutal working conditions – these are moments in time when our society is measured on the devastating consequences of not doing enough to speak up and speak out. 

When those who raise a constant drumbeat of anger, hatred, distrust and fear are not challenged, we all suffer.

There is no action we can take that will bring Trayvon back to his family and replace the hole that will always remain in their lives.  Every person in this country must take a moment to feel that reality.

One of the most sacred principles of the labor movement is our motto, “an injury to one is an injury to all.”  The Voice Reporter issues this statement today in that spirit.  We are grateful for the solidarity of our sisters and brothers who are Latino and black trade unionists, who are Asian Pacific American and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. We are every color and creed imaginable—and we will speak out against this injustice.

Today we are all Trayvon Martin, we are all his parents, we are all his family.  We grieve with the family and add our prayers.  We add our voices to the call that out of this tragedy, we must ensure just action in this case and must all invest more tirelessly in the work needed to make America the country we all believe in: a safe, fair, loving and just country with equal opportunity for all. 

The folks of the Voice Reporter also want to give a shout-out to City Councilman Adam McFadden. From what we have learned, he is responsible for organizing an event for citizens to publicly express their sorrow, grief and anger about this national tragedy. Thank you for your leadership and vision Mr. McFadden. Thank you for your tireless advocacy on behalf of all working people.

Please join us in Rochester, N.Y. on Sunday, March 25th at a justice rally and march from the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester to the Federal Building on State Street. It begins at 3:00 pm. Wear your hoodie.

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