News & Events

Massachusetts Nurses Association Statement on the Murder of George Floyd and Our Nation’s Problem: Systemic Racism

CANTON, Mass – The Massachusetts Nurses Association Board of Directors – 28 front-line nurses and health care professionals elected by their colleagues – has issued the following statement on the Murder of George Floyd and the systemic racism within our nation.

“The Massachusetts Nurses Association stands in sorrow and grieving for the family of our brother, George Floyd, who was murdered at the hands of the Minneapolis police officers whose direct actions and inactions lead to his death. Mr. Floyd’s death is yet one more in a too-familiar pattern of tragic reminders that the work of making America a just nation remains unfinished.

“We stand in solidarity with the millions of people and numerous labor organizations demanding justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other individuals, families, and communities – including our own union members – harmed and impacted by systemic racism and violence. We live in daily fear for our sons, daughters, and other loved ones who are subjected to racial violence in all its forms.

“As nurses and healing professionals dedicated to the humanistic provision of socially essential care and the alleviation of suffering, we recognize institutional racism and the systematic oppression of communities of color as both a crisis in public health and a pervasive obstacle to achieving the goals of our work in both nursing practice and in the labor movement.

“In nursing practice, we bear first-hand witness to the health consequences of disparities: the social, economic, institutional, physical, and psychological violence perpetrated against black people and people of color, working-class people, and all members of society who are socially devalued and systemically assaulted.  The Massachusetts Nurses Association takes seriously our charge to be vocal advocates for the health and safety of the vulnerable members of our communities.

“We bear first-hand witness to the disparities that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and brought into sharper focus. We have struggled to save the lives of all of our patients while coming face-to-face with the fact that essential workers belonging to already vulnerable communities, in particular communities of color, have fallen ill and lost their lives at devastatingly high and disproportionate rates.

“To echo the sentiments of our brothers and sisters of the AFL-CIO, we are facing a crisis on three fronts: a global pandemic, an economic depression, and a living legacy of structural oppression. Racism continues to threaten the lives of many of us, tear at the integrity of our movements, and disrupt the work of our organizations. It is a matter of both duty and survival for us to rise in support of one another, to demand justice, and to challenge those who would seek to separate and defeat us.

“We close with the same words issued by the Teamsters union on behalf of all their members, police officers and others, who stand shoulder to shoulder in demanding justice: “On behalf of this great union, we send our condolences to the family of Brother George Floyd, and may justice prevail.”

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.