Adopted by the AFT 2121 Executive Board, Nov. 10, 2015
Whereas, on November 28, 2014, Bay Area black activists staged a peaceful civil disobedience action to protest the police killings of unarmed black people like Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the failure of the courts to hold police accountable for those killings, and the broad pattern of police violence against black Americans. Fourteen protesters, known as the Black Friday 14, were arrested; and Whereas, this powerful action, in the tradition of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, helped spark a national movement for justice and liberation for African Americans. The participants should be recognized as visionaries and civil rights heroes. However, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s office instead filed criminal charges against the protestors. As the one-year anniversary of the action approaches, those charges still have not been dropped;, and
Whereas, both our union’s members and the students we serve include many African Americans and other people of color who face daily threats to themselves and their children from police violence and racial discrimination, and we know that the struggles for worker justice and racial justice in this country are deeply linked. We know from the labor movement’s own history that civil disobedience actions are often necessary to inspire mass participation, give voice to those who have been silenced, and build the political will for change. To punish the brave activists who participate in these actions is deeply counterproductive to our goals as a labor movement; and
Whereas, we are also disturbed to note that criminal charges are outstanding only against the African American leaders who participated in the Black Friday action – not against the numerous white activists involved in other civil disobedience actions in the same time period. This unequal application of the law further highlights the need for protests like this one; and
Whereas, we are deeply disappointed that D.A. O’Malley, elected with support from labor, has chosen to prosecute those who are standing up for justice for our members, students, and so many other workers of color.
Therefore, be it resolved that AFT 2121 strongly urges D.A. O’Malley to drop all charges against the Black Friday 14.