In response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:
“White supremacy, Nazism, and demonstrations steeped in hatred go against everything that we believe at the American Federation of Government Employees,” he said. “Unions are about strength in numbers and standing up for all workers, regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or political views. As one of the most diverse unions in the country that represents workers from all walks of life and various backgrounds, we are infuriated by what occurred this weekend.”
Heather D. Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured when a car was driven into demonstrators protesting the white supremacy rally.
Two officers, helicopter pilot Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, were killed when their helicopter keeping watch on the demonstrations crashed.
Cox said AFGE commends the men and women who bravely stood in the face of hate and wouldn’t back down from violence, and applaud the law enforcement officers who put their duty first in trying to keep the peace.
“Our country and our union were founded on the belief that all are created equal,” he said. “While we at AFGE are participating in Diversity Week training this week, it’s important for all citizens to step up and find ways to create peace and unity. Be it attending a church service, speaking to family and friends, attending a vigil , or joining a group that stands up to hate – it all makes a difference.”
Cox urged AFGE members to find a vigil or group near then and consider donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center , the Anti-Defamation League , or both.
“We hope that out of the sadness in Charlottesville this weekend that all our union brothers and sisters and all Americans can come together to defeat hate by fostering equality and love,” he said.