IATSE released a statement Monday in support of peaceful protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, but said that “we denounce violence and the destruction of property perpetrated by opportunists who seek to take advantage of this painful moment for personal gains.” The WGA, SAG-AFTRA and the DGA have released similar statements.
“We share in the heartbreak, frustration and anger surrounding the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police,” IATSE said in a statement posted on the union’s website. “We stand in solidarity with the African-American community as together we grieve yet another lawless, racist killing in our country.
“The principle that all people are equal and all people are deserving of respect and fair treatment is a cornerstone of the labor movement. As a labor union that represents Black members and people of color of all ethnicities, we have an ethical duty to do everything we can to root out racism in our communities, our homes, and our workplaces, once and for all.
“While we are distraught, shaken and angered by the death of George Floyd, we must all join in the conversation for advocacy, effective change, fairness and justice for the African American community. We cannot sit and stay silent as people mourn yet another member of our community, and only the memory of the name be followed by the hashtag #ICantBreathe.
“We must and will apply pressure across the board for systemic change to value Black lives through full and unified equal protection under the law, public health, medical leave, education, housing, business development, and economic change and equality. We are prepared to advocate for specific, necessary policy and legislation, and we stand ready to lock arms with allies who are primarily focused on racial justice and reform.
“Although buildings are burning, a life has been taken, and we cannot lose sight of the countless times our brothers and sisters of the African-American community have been robbed of their lives by acts of injustice, racism and bigotry. Still, we denounce violence and the destruction of property perpetrated by opportunists who seek to take advantage of this painful moment for personal gains. Additionally, it is absolutely unacceptable for the police to target reporters and their crews with violence or arrest for doing their constitutionally protected jobs.
“As people of conscience, it is each of our individual’s duty to keep the momentum of the moment to evoke change by educating ourselves on the issues, speaking to our local politicians, and getting involved with local social justice chapters. Together, we must continue to peacefully protest for change, protest or justice, protest for inclusivity, and protest for equality.”