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For Immediate Release
August 26, 2020

United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal on the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin

What follows is a statement by UUP President Kowal on the shooting of Kenosha, Wis. resident Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin on Aug. 23:

“America’s institutional racism has reared its ugly face again. Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot in the back multiple times at close range by police in Wisconsin as he attempted to get back inside his SUV. His three young sons—ages 3, 5 and 8—watched from inside the vehicle as their father was shot down.

“When will this soul-numbing repetition end? The violence of centuries continues without any sign of abating. The time for half-measures and limited reform has long passed.

“There was no reason for police to fire seven bullets into Jacob Blake’s back. Period. This act, which has left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down, appears to be yet another act of brutality by police upon an unarmed Black man. And it is part of a pattern in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and across this nation.

“The time is now to do all we can to eradicate the systemic racism that’s rife in law enforcement and has been pervasive in America for 400 years. This is America. Our claim to believe that everyone has a right to a life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness rings hollow, more than ever.

“UUP calls for an immediate, transparent and thorough investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake, and for those at fault to be held accountable for their actions. Our union has previously articulated the immediate need for a massive reordering of our nation’s institutions to finally establish true social justice across our land. That call must be articulated more loudly than ever, in every forum where we speak and teach, and turned into actions in our communities immediately.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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