The following statement can be attributed to Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU:
32BJ mourns the loss of Jemel Roberson, a 26-year-old Chicago security officer who was fatally shot and killed by a police officer after Jemel had apprehended a shooting suspect at the bar he was hired to protect. As a union that represents 30,000 security officers across the country, who risk their lives every day to protect people and property, we send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, coworkers, friends and all those who loved this protector whose life was cut tragically short.
This incident is a painful reminder of the long list of on-the-job hazards that security officers face every day, including implicit bias and racism that are at odds with the aspirations and ideals of our great country. Jemel’s uniform didn’t protect his humanity. The gun license he carried for work didn’t protect his life. This is a stark reminder of how far we still have to go in order to make our society safe for all–no matter the color of our skin.
We refuse to give up on the dream that one day all Americans –white, Black and brown– will be treated equally under the law, at work and in our communities. It is tragedies like these that allow us to recommit ourselves to organizing, taking action and fighting for the racial and economic justice. We know we cannot win justice at work if justice is thwarted outside our doors in our communities. We stand up for one another and we stand with each other. Otherwise we all lose.
With 163,000 members in 11 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.