Published: January 31, 2023

SEIU 503 is proud to again celebrate Black History Month. Each year, we make time to recognize the contributions, beauty, and resilience of our Black and African American members. Tragically, we must also continue to acknowledge the brutal oppression and challenges these communities face. Two years removed from the murder of George Floyd, we’re in the immediate wake of yet another horrific killing of a Black man by police. We center Tyre Nichols and his family in our thoughts and actions as we enter Black History Month and we need it to be a continued call to action. 

Our AFRAM Caucus sponsored “Keep Alive the Dream” and prepared a compelling statement and call to action in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We wish to lift those words and urge everyone to create a world closer to what Dr. King envisioned. AFRAM leaders posed these questions to all of us:  

Can we listen to each other’s experiences and try to bridge the gap that still separates people in our country? Can we embrace our fellow Americans and work to ensure we are not the divided states but rather the United States of America? 

We must all make an effort to answer “yes.” Our union represents more than 72,000 working Oregonians – Black, white, and brown; rural and urban. We are strong because of our diversity and shared values of equality, fairness, and solidarity. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Each of us has a duty to act in the face of injustice, at the worksite, in the streets, anywhere. We need to hold ourselves and each other accountable to Keep Alive the Dream. 

Please follow our Black History Month celebration. We’ll be hosting events, showcasing the amazing work of our Black and African American members, and providing opportunities to learn, grow, and share.  

In Solidarity, 

SEIU 503 President Mike Powers and Executive Director Melissa Unger