Our hearts are heavy with the injustice, oppression and pain that beset our nation.

We at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United grieve for the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many of our Black brothers and sisters who were and have continuously been victims of police brutality and abuse of power. Their senseless killing is nothing but an emblem of a historically racist and authoritarian system that incites hatred and violence against Blacks.

Floyd was murdered because he was Black and poor. A restaurant worker at the Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis, MN, he lost his job in March. Two months later, he died under the knee of an armed police officer.

It is unacceptable that Black and Brown people fear that any interaction with law enforcement can lead to their untimely death. It is unacceptable that Black and Brown people are the hardest-hit by the existing pandemic.

This fight is our fight. It resonates with the shared values and personal experiences of our members, our staff, our leaders, and our partners. Racism runs the gamut from restaurant workers who still earn subminimum wage and face structural inequalities to discrimination and harassment at work because they are people of color.

We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Our work and commitment for economic and social justice for restaurant workers attempts to change our nation’s systemic underpaid labor practice and the bigoted marginalization of people of color.

We demand a swift and immediate end to police brutality. Officers of the peace must be held fully accountable when they violate their oath and immediately prosecuted to the full extent of the law just as any other citizen.

We demand a robust political transformation of our society to one that equally values the lives of people of color and ensures economic, social and civil justice for every person across this nation.

America must stop pressing its knee on Blacks, immigrants, refugees, and Native people. We will never feel safe and secure until all of us—across all racial and economic lines—are free.