We Must Fight for Black Lives

Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, NELP’s Executive Director:

“Since the National Employment Law Project (NELP) first expressed our deep sadness and rage at the police and vigilante murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery—Tony McDade, a trans man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee; James Scurlock, a young man who was out protesting, was killed by a bar owner in Omaha; and David McAtee was shot and killed by the Kentucky National Guard. We feel rage and righteous indignation at these modern-day lynchings.

“Our sadness and rage are deep, but we do not despair. We face this oppression with the fortitude of our ancestors, elders, and resiliency of our community leaders. We have a legacy of struggle, intellectual scholarship, effective organizing traditions, art, and spirituality. These are gifts that nurture our resilience. We manifest them now for our collective wellbeing and liberation.

“The uprisings and protests across the country reflect broader pain that must be heard. Our collective grief was already great, given the tremendous loss of Black life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has not been a ‘great equalizer,’ but has only exacerbated existing inequities in communities of color related to health, employment, education, housing, transportation, and just about any other measure of wellness. For decades, we have witnessed how anti-Black policy choices have undermined the gains of the Civil Rights and Black liberation movements that our ancestors and elders took up to address inherently unjust systems. We must continue their work to challenge the violent policies, corporations, and billionaires that hoard profits, erode our wellbeing, and kill us.

NELP is committed to dismantling white supremacy, structural racism, and oppression that disinvests in and kills Black people—and to building a future where we all can thrive.

“We need each other more than ever as our lives are at stake. The past few days, we saw how the police violently terrorized journalists and protesters marching for Black lives, even as we all have the constitutional right to freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble and protest. The militarized police forces used weapons, including dangerous rubber bullet projectiles that have permanently destroyed people’s eyes and caused severe bodily harm. The Trump administration has made it clear this week that it will target people protesting against fascism, and it will also empower the police and military to brutalize and wound protesters with impunity. This makes clear that all of us who care about justice, democracy, and our very lives—must unite across our differences and do the work to defeat fascism.

“NELP is committed to dismantling white supremacy, structural racism, and oppression that disinvests in and kills Black people—and to building a future where we all can thrive. We are heartened to see so many people take the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, and we are also encouraged that out of these tragedies, a space has been created for increased support to campaigns calling for divestment from policing and correctional budgets to move our public money instead to support our communities’ needs. Workers need a just transition from harmful institutions and economies to institutions and economies that prioritize our health, healing, and justice.

“In this time of crisis, NELP will continue to strengthen workers’ rights and make bold structural changes for racial and economic justice—as this is how democracy will flourish. We must make major shifts toward a true multiracial democracy that is not dictated by violent racial capitalism and unchecked corporate power, but rather reshaped to serve people’s needs and to respect the sanctity of Black life.”

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About the Author

Rebecca Dixon

Areas of expertise:
  • Occupational Segregation,
  • Program Management,
  • Unemployment Insurance,
  • Workplace Equity

NELP is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Dixon. Rebecca is a respected national leader in federal workers’ rights advocacy and is in great demand for her thought leadership on issues of labor and racial, gender, and economic justice.

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