NESRI is an organization committed to human rights for all people. We know that respect for basic human rights across all spheres – political, social, economic and cultural – is essential to the dignity of any society and the underpinning of a functioning democracy. An attack on the human rights of any of us is an attack on all of us, whether the abuses occur on or within our borders. In recent days, the separation of children from their parents on the southern border has been followed by lawfare against unions and legally sanctioned Islamophobia through the Muslim Ban. We express our heartfelt anguish and solidarity for the families affected, from those fleeing persecution to those struggling to make ends meet. We know some of your suffering is almost unimaginable and commit to consistently opposing this Administration’s abusive and antidemocratic agenda. We also condemn how the majority of our U.S. Supreme Court has abandoned its historic responsibility to safeguard the rights of the people in its complicity with this Administration.
The response to these multiple crises must come from within every sector of our society. We join with the countless Americans who have raised their voice and the many who have put their bodies on the line to reunite families. We commend the ICE employees who have spoken out against the Administration’s policies and the many workers around the country, such as the 300 Microsoft employees who have threatened to quit unless ICE contracts are cancelled, who are taking action in solidarity against the abuses. And we add our voices to the call to abolish ICE.
We also commit to solidarity with our public-sector unions that are working tirelessly to protect the economic security and well-being of families in our country. Weakening public sector unions is an unveiled attack on our democracy, as well as on people of color. One in six people in the United States work for government and government is the largest employer of people of color with living wage jobs. Black communities will be particularly affected. Twenty percent of Black adults in the U.S. work for the government, disproportionately Black women. Unions also reduce inequality and guarantee stability for workers in an increasingly precarious economy. When unions or other collective forms of organizing are absent, work places become lawless and wage theft, unsafe conditions, sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation are the norm.
Finally, we stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters. Islamophobia has become a political weapon to start needless wars, distract from economic conditions at home, and fuel surveillance and criminalization of our society. Criminalization and surveillance of communities of color, from the school to prison pipeline to the Muslim ban, is a toxic expression of the White supremacy that we must defeat in order to secure human rights and the guarantee of our continued democracy.
This Administration is keenly aware of the power of human rights to combat its antidemocratic agenda. It is no surprise it took the shameful decision to withdraw the United States from the Human Rights Council given its opposition to universal values and the human dignity of all. We know, however, that we can ensure this Administration fails if we continue to build our opposition together through the power and love that comes with these very values. To all the communities currently receiving the brunt of this Administration’s assaults, we stand with you.