Longshore worker local condemns Charleston massacre

ilwuThe following resolution — submitted by longshore rank-and-file worker veteran Clarence Thomas — was adopted by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10, on June 25.  

WHEREAS, On June 17, 2015, nine defenseless Black lives were taken, including Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, State Senator of South Carolina, and ILA [International Longshoremen’s Association] Local 1422 member Tyrone Sander’s son and aunt, in an horrific act of racial terror at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.; and,

WHEREAS, The alleged white supremacist killer specifically selected Mother Emanuel because it is an iconic Black church with a history of struggle for freedom and democracy for African- American people that dates back to the 18th century and in more recent history the site for organizing civil rights marches in the 1950s and 1960s; and

WHEREAS, The June 17, 2015, killings recall the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four African-American young girls and galvanized the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; and

WHEREAS, This horrific act of racial terror must be viewed in the broader context of the state-sanctioned murders of African-American unarmed women, men and children across the nation by police and vigilantes such as the death of Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, both in Florida; and

WHEREAS, historically labor has played a leading role in the Civil Rights Movement in this country; and

WHEREAS, In September 1967 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the membership of ILWU Local 10 acknowledging the ILWU’s support of the Civil Rights Movement and was made an honorary member of Local 10 seven months before his assassination; and

WHEREAS, On June 18, 2015, Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must interrupt business as usual and change the trajectory of our Nation …”; and

WHEREAS, On June 18, 2015, ILA International President Harold J. Daggett, in the ILA News issued a statement, “Let us honor the deaths of these nine parishioners by recommitting ourselves to eliminating all forms of hatred, and bigotry in our nation”; and

WHEREAS, The ILA and ILWU represent the strongest sector of organized labor vital to the movement of 95 percent of the world’s goods, a $6 trillion industry;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That this Resolution be sent to all longshore locals on the West Coast;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,  Local 10 send $1,000 to Mother Emanuel AME Church to assist with burial and/or church expenses due to this racial assault on their premises; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, The entire ILWU Longshore Division prepare to support the ILA in any solidarity action they may call in response to these killings; and that Local 10 provide expenses for at least three members to travel to Charleston, S.C., in order to participate in any such action.

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