Statement of Farmworker Justice On the Murder of George Floyd and the Demand for Racial Justice
Farmworker Justice condemns the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis and expresses its condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family. The Farmworker Justice Board and staff stand in solidarity with the Black community in its demands for justice in this case and for eradication of the systemic racism that infects law enforcement and many other institutions in this nation.
The killing of George Floyd would not have occurred if he had been white. Prejudice against Black communities and other communities of color continues to be widespread. Racism continues to subject Black Americans and others to indignities, economic disadvantages, health disparities, physical harm and death.
We at Farmworker Justice wholeheartedly support the international peaceful protests that demand justice in the case of George Floyd and an end to racism in all its forms and in all the institutions it taints. Through such organizing comes social change.
As an organization that serves farmworkers, Farmworker Justice is mindful of the history of the racist exploitation of Black Americans that has not ended. Enslaved African Americans labored on our farms for almost 250 years. After the Civil War African Americans in agriculture suffered state-supported physical violence and exploitative economic structures like sharecropping. Federal labor-protective laws enacted in the 1930s — including the minimum wage and the right to unionize – excluded farmworkers to appease southern farmers whose employees were predominantly Black. In recent years, thousands of Black farmers have been denied government assistance given to White farmers. Today the federal government designates farmworkers, most of whom are people of color, as “essential workers” and yet major federal labor laws still discriminate against them.
The longstanding institutional racism that led to George Floyd’s murder must be eradicated. Farmworker Justice will continue to seek justice and the end of racism. It proudly supports the Black community in its demands for justice.
Farmworker Justice is a national advocacy organization for farmworkers, www.farmworkerjustice.org.