United With Ferguson: Racial Divides and Wealth

For the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has focused on an unlikely epicenter of race relations, a Quik-Trip convenience store about fifteen miles north of St. Louis. It was there that 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was gunned down by a white police officer, and it is there that a groundswell of sympathy and frustration has prompted the community, and nation, to act. The town of Ferguson was rocked by this tragic event, and has responded in an incredible way – by organizing. In addition to memorials, people are setting up voter registration tables, and this moment is on its way to becoming a movement with racial inequity at the heart of the conversation.

We believe that, in the words of Frederick Douglas, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” We at United for a Fair Economy have a very simple demand: let’s build an economy that works for Ferguson, and for the south side of Chicago, and for everywhere in between. Let’s build a system that provides the same level of economic stability for communities of color as exists in middle class suburbs or affluent communities. Just as racial profiling is at the heart of this tragic event, the racial wealth divide should be a part of this conversation, and that is something that we’ve been working to bring into public consciousness for over a decade.

We understand that systemic racism will always exist as long as our economy doesn’t match our ideals. That’s why we were founded twenty years ago with a simple goal: to work towards a fair economy. We live up to this ambitious mission, and our name says it all.

We are united to build an economy that provides equal opportunity and equal justice for people who have been marginalized in our society based on race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or social class.

We are united to build an economy that creates jobs with dignity, that provide living wages, and where workers have the democratic right to organize and share the wealth produced by their labor.

We are united to create a robust public sector that works for the common good, funded through progressive taxes, and accountable to the people, and together, we will build this economy in a way that is sustainable and equitable for future citizens of our planet.

We remain vigilant, and our hearts are with those building a movement in Ferguson, in Queens, NY, and every other community that has been rocked by violence.

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