Chicago–SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff issued the following statement on the Freddie Gray tragedy as well as the need to fix America’s broken criminal justice system:
“The search for justice may prove to be very long and difficult in a society with ongoing race and class divisions. As these divisions are taking center stage in Baltimore, I extend thoughts and prayers to the family of Freddie Grayon behalf of the 50,000 members of SEIU Local 1.
“Freddie Gray’s death is a tragedy of national scale. Not only did his death affect his closest family, it shook our entire country. The American family finds itself yet again brought to its knees, but also outraged as another black life is lost while under police custody. America will never truly thrive as a nation until every human being is respected and every community and neighborhood has equal opportunity to succeed. We must ensure that the criminal justice system holds everyone equal under the law, regardless of the color of their skin or the neighborhood which they live in. Our responsibility now is to work together peacefully to make our society as a whole a better one.
“Our members throughout the Midwest walk the city streets daily and deserve to live free of profiling, criminalization and most of all fear. SEIU Local 1 will continue to fight for full dignity and respect of all workers regardless of race, gender, or religion, not only in the workplace but also at home, in our communities and on the streets to continue to eradicate the economic and social inequality in our neighborhoods.”