Fighting Racial Injustice

As educators, health care professionals, and unionists, we cannot be silent to the continued injustices against people of color in our country. We must condemn racist violence like that which led to the death of George Floyd. We mourn for his family, for the pain of their loss and the way he was stolen from them.

We stand with our students, patients and members affected by these injustices and with peaceful protesters across the country demanding justice and demanding change. It is long past the time when racist institutions are reformed to reflect the ideals of a society that claims to believe in equality and justice for all.

UUP has a long history of commitment to social justice, and we stand steadfast by that commitment today. UUP President Fred Kowal released a statement on the death of George Floyd that can be found here and a statement on the death of Jacob Blake that can be found here .

UUP issued a press release that applauds the state Legislature for its actions on police reform bills and calls on New York state and SUNY to be the engine of transformation during a time when our state and nation are facing multifaceted crises. Read that release here. UUP’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), passed a resolution on confronting racism and in support of black lives. Read that resolution here .

UUP encourages all our members to be part of the solution as we move forward together. There are many ways to stand in solidarity, but we’ve compiled a list of upcoming events and solidarity actions here:

Upcoming Events:

• In response to incidents of police racial violence, Dr. Anthea Butler (University of Pennsylvania), and Kevin Gannon (Grandview University) started #ScholarStrike, asking faculty and staff across the nation to stand in solidarity with our students and the communities we serve. More specifically they are calling for the following: “To that end, we propose a general strike (for those who are working Union contracts, working to the clock) for 48 hours, to take place immediately after Labor Day, on September 8 – 9. We believe that it is long past time for us to make a collective stand against police violence (particularly against communities of color) in the United States. We will refrain from teaching and all administrative duties for this entire 48 hour period. We will use this time as a public teach-in about police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives.” UUP encourages members to stand in solidarity with the #ScholarStrike. You can show solidarity in a number of ways:

  • Facilitating and participating in public teach-ins about police racial violence. To sign on click here. Teach-in resources and other resources can be found here. More information about the #ScholarStrike can be found here.
  • Having a virtual presence. Focusing your posts on educating your followers on the history and facts of racial and social injustice. UUP’s resources to show solidarity for the #ScholarStrike can be found here.
  • Labor Day Pledge: Many of our members will be working on September 7, Labor Day and we have the opportunity to use this day as a call for social, economic and racial justice by beginning these teach-ins right away. Will you teach-in or join us and share UUP’s call for action and support with #ScholarStrike - sign on here.

Scholar Strike Teach-In Video Recording and Upload Instructions Submission deadline to upload your video is Sunday, September 6th at 9pm EST. If we receive video after that time, we can’t promise it will be cued up for Tuesday and Wednesday. We need to get this done ASAP to get a schedule going and put out to the public!


    • We’re hoping that your content will touch on some issue of race, racism, policing, or other social justice issues related to racism and America. If your area of expertise is outside of the US, please connect it to present day concerns so that it will be accessible to students and members of the public who will see these videos.

    • PLEASE KEEP YOUR SUBMISSION TO 10 MINUTES OR LESS!!! Adhere to time limits--your work and knowledge are valuable. We cannot edit your videos due to time constraints. If you go over time, your video may not be uploaded for the teach-in!

    • All asynchronous presentations are 10 minutes and should be recorded with an iphone (preferable 10 or 11), android phone, SLR camera, or even on a desktop, but please, high quality.

    • Upload videos in an MP4 format to the WE TRANSFER portal we're using, or provide a link to the video (dropbox, google drive) that allows us to download it and then transfer to the YouTube channel.

    • Please use this email address for your links or your WeTransfer uploads:

    • In the subject line or in the message block, include your name and affiliation (optional), the title of the presentation, and 3-5 keywords to identify the video.

    • Submission deadline is Sunday, September 6th at 9pm EST.

    Some tips:

    • Keep it practical— The information shared during these presentations should align with hands on, on the ground, necessary knowledge towards institutional and interpersonal change. We want attendees to leave each session with tangible strategies to think about, consider, and if applicable, work towards, and implement.

    • Make sure you have a good background, not busy!!! We would like the attention on you!

    • Consider your audience—We are expecting an audience of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and general public. Please consider the positionality of our attendees, including the distinct possibility that your message will need to meet a diverse audience where they are.

Solidarity Actions

• Add your name to the “Open Letter to Our Nations’ Lawmakers on Systemic Racism” from The Poor People’s Campaign here .

• Encourage active discussion of issues of race on your campus. In union meetings, classes, and other events, provide time to discuss racial injustices on your campus and work together for collective change. Make sure students, faculty and staff of color are leading these discussions.

• Stand with students. Our students are committed to social justice, and we should be joining and supporting them in peaceful protests. Reach out to student groups on campus, especially those which are led by students of color, and ask how UUP can help.

• Sign the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers’ online petition demanding justice here.

• Sign the Color of Change petition to end violent policing against black people here .

• Consider making monetary donations to:

  • The NAACP Legal Defense Fund , which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
  • The Poor People’s Campaign , which supports people coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

• Visit the Education Minnesota webpage, which includes actions to take, anti-racism resources and other organizations to consider donating to.

• As we continuously educate ourselves, consider reading “How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change” by President Barack Obama here and visit the resource page on here.

Keep us updated on any actions on your campus and in your community that we can help amplify and suggestions for additional organizations members should consider supporting by emailing Amy Sheldon at This is a collective problem that requires a collective solution.

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