George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice

We are watching the protests in Minneapolis and across the country and we are all in shock.  Again.  And yet again.

And as I say this, I know it seems right to be stunned and appalled.  We want to be shocked, but honestly, are we?

How can we be shocked at what is routine?  How can we pretend to be surprised at such callous cruelty by those charged with protecting and serving us when it has been an essential part of our American landscape since before our founding?

The senseless murder of George Floyd – a man whose life mattered – was the result of a country steeped in white supremacy.  The loss of his life and so many others is a cause for grief and anger but also a cry for justice.

Our merged affiliate, Education Minnesota, reached out to NEA and AFT and we will coordinate our response and work with local and national organizations to move justice forward in this angry and betrayed community.

We are proud to offer our hearts and hands to bring any assistance that can help us take action, hold those in power accountable and to begin to heal.  Unfortunately, we’ve been called on to do this work too many times before and this week proves that racial justice is still out of reach and our work continues.

But we are not deterred.  We are determined.  We stand with justice communities, unions, educators, parents, faith communities… we are not alone in this fight.  We applaud Education Minnesota for leading in their state, and for being racial justice leaders

within our union.  But we know that this is not only a local issue.  It’s not only a state issue.  It is a cancer on our nation, and we must stand together to find the cure.

We, as educators and public servants; as activists and neighbors will unite our members, our communities and our nation to demand that we live into our cherished poetry which has yet to realized:  Justice for all.  For All.

Below is a link to the statement we issued on Wednesday, Education Minnesota’s resource page, as well as a link to our EdJustice and other resources to help us help our students and communities.

In solidarity with Education Minnesota and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, we encourage everyone to wear all black on Monday as part of our call to demand justice.  You will be hearing more shortly about specific plans and opportunities to engage members and allies in demands for racial justice.  For now, please know that we are speaking out, showing up and organizing for justice.

This is education work.  This is union work.  This is justice work.  This is our work. 

Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show”

8 Responses to “George Floyd: Grief and anger and a cry for justice”

  1. Joan C.

    This teacher is ready to get better at providing a more comprehensive civil rights curriculum and be part of the positive change we have ahead of us. In solidarity with our peaceful protesters.

    Reply
  2. Theresa Dudley

    Thank you President Lily for always being on the RIGHT side of Social Justice! We love your commitment to moving our society to a nation free of RACISM for the good of our CHILDREN…..

    Reply
  3. Malinda Hurley

    Teachers need to beware of districts who are afraid of White police officer parents such as mine. When I tried teaching an argumentative essay lesson on Colin Kaepernick. I was accused of expressing my opinion in the classroom and being biased. Just to let you know, I am Hispanic. This was not true. I gave both sides of the argument and allowed students to do additional research and even invite their parents to participate as to reasons to support their claim.

    Teachers must know they’re not allowed to give any personal opinion otherwise they can be reprimanded. In this lesson I based everything on the facts from articles supporting both sides, A few days later, I was attacked on Facebook by this White police officer parent who used a fake name. My superintendent was informed by a company that monitors social media and trends concerning our district and so, therefore the assistant superintendent came to my school and spoke with my principal who then spoke with my department head who created this lesson and finally spoke to me. I was immediately treated like a criminal and escorted off the campus put on administrative leave until they could investigate the next three days what this parent was accusing me of. This parent was so cowardly by not contacting me like a normal person about his concerns, secondly he used a fake name on a social media website like a troll, and then used his white privilege to punish me for revealing the facts he did not like about why Colin Kaepernick was taking a knee in protest about police brutality and the alarming statistics of police officers shooting unarmed people of color. The district would not reveal who this parent was and so therefore I had to research on my own to find out who he was. Once I found out, I contacted his police department and spoke with his chief of police. He refused to have a sit down conversation with me. I even offered to go to his police station so he would not feel uncomfortable. He still refused. So, I completely understand the Black Lives Matter movement when they have police officers like this one on the force who are supposed to protect and serve. Lastly I wanted to mention that my school is about 95% Latin X. This one White student’s parent managed to disrupt the entire campus and nothing was done about it. I was eventually allowed back after Thanksgiving break, but things were never the same. I did not receive an apology, Nor, would my White male principal address this with my students or the school to help them understand how one parent‘s racist views can keep Teachers from teaching them our 8th grade students of color about the would we live in. I was told by the district we could never use this lesson again nor give our personal opinions in class. Sadly 75% of the teachers on this campus had to change their way of expressing themselves otherwise they risked being put on administrative leave for giving their opinions in their classrooms.

    Reply
  4. Thomas Murphy

    I am in full agreement with your organization’s determination to stamp out and educate elementary school students in the state of Minnesota. Curricula all over our country is in great need of being expanded to include classes on racial justice and the on history of the types of systemic urban racial inequality that has plagued America since its founding.

    Yours in solidarity,
    Thomas Murphy

    Reply
  5. Audreia J.

    Thank you so much for speaking out and standing up for something that affects a good majority of our students. This means so much!

    Reply
  6. Lisa Clarke Hill

    Let’s do this!

    Reply
  7. Jo Anne Barker

    Lily,   
    I sympathize with all those who have lost their lives due to the careless acts of some police officers and I strongly support reform of discrimination and racial bias and inequality. Please be careful how you word your call to action, you may be sending a negative message! My son is a police officer who acts with compassion and integrity and there are many other decent police officers, men and women of all colors, who risk their lives in defense of you and me every day. Let us not punish them because of the acts of a few!
     Please recognize how promoting bias against all police officers is irresponsible and dangerous.
    Sincerely,
    Jo Anne Barker

    Reply
  8. Trisha Connolly

    Thoughts about the Police Union, Lily?

    Reply

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