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America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant Weighs In On Slaying of George Floyd: “An Injury to One, is an Injury to All”

America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant Weighs In On Slaying of George Floyd: “An Injury to One, is an Injury to All”

Sara Nelson, the formidable leader of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) has weighed in on the slaying of George Floyd saying that Black, brown and indigenous people are “victims of unimaginable violence and oppression that challenges the very idea of America.” Floyd was killed on Monday while being restrained by a Minneapolis police officer who leaned on Floyd’s neck with his knee.

The former police officer, who was sacked by the police department for his actions on the day, was seen in video footage filmed by a passerby pinning the unarmed black victim to the ground while he begged to be freed because he couldn’t breathe. The case has sparked outrage across the United States with protestors taking to the streets of Minneapolis and other cities across the country.

The police officer, identified as Derek Chauvin has since been detained by prosecutors and charged murder and manslaughter.

“As aviation’s first responders, Flight Attendants are trained to de-escalate incidents in the air. De-escalation is the minimum we can expect from law enforcement,” Nelson said on Friday afternoon. “We know this is possible. When heavily-armed mostly white protestors stormed the Minnesota state capitol and threatened lawmakers just weeks ago, police were able to maintain calm and did not take aggressive action.”

The often outspoken union activist, who has only held her post as President of the Association of Flight Attendants since 2014, has been dubbed the most powerful flight attendant in the United States. Her union represents 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines including United Airlines and has often punched well above its weight for its ability to influence decisions made on Capitol Hill.

Recent lobbying efforts by the union and Nelson, in particular, helped enshrine payroll support and non-furlough commitments into the multi-billion dollar CARES Act airline bailout. Nelson has been credited with galvanising the Labor movement in recent years and has even been touted as a potential running mate for Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Commenting on what she described as her privileged life as a white person, Nelson continued:

“As a white woman, mother, wife and daughter, I have never experienced racism. I recognize what white privilege has meant in my life. But I, like millions of other white Americans, have witnessed violent racism. Most often we have witnessed it from the safety of our homes and yet been heartsick by it.”

“Our union’s mission statement compels us to act for the safety of our members and the freedom and well-being of working people. Unions play a critical role for our country in condemning racism and taking action to end it. Throughout our history racism has been exploited by the ruling class to promote the idea of competition among those who do the work of our country and create the value that makes a few people rich.”

“We often say in our unions “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” That statement is a moral imperative to all who believe in the promise of a free society,” she continued.

Nelson promised to start discussions immediately on what must be done to “defend our members’ rights, safety and freedom”. In a final rallying call, Nelson asked: “all Americans to join us and contribute to the solution.”

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