The nation stands at a crossroads, stated NEA President Lily Eskelsen García in her remaining keynote deal with to the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly on Thursday, and it’s as much as educators in all places to ensure it chooses the proper path.
Even although the 2020 RA is being carried out remotely through the persevering with COVID-19 pandemic, practically 8,000 educator delegates from each state have come collectively just about over the subsequent days.
“We are educators and public servants,” Eskelsen García stated at this time. “We are unionists. We are activists. We’re patriots….We are called on to act. So, what will you do? What will you do for your colleagues; your students; the families you love; the communities where you live? What will you do as we face the most dangerous threat to our democracy that we’ve ever faced?”
In introducing Eskelsen García, whose second time period as NEA President ends August 31, NEA Vice President Becky Pringle paid tribute to Lily’s brave and impassioned management of the three.2 million member affiliation over the previous six years.
“Lily was relentless in beating the drum about the horrors and expense of the testing craze that had swept and hoodwinked this country,” Pringle stated. “And people did listen, and they joined her crusade. …She set out to lead this organization in taking on its own responsibility to do the work required to move this country toward the systemic, fair treatment of people of all races that ensures equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone.”
The theme of the 2020 RA is ‘Our Democracy; Our Responsibility; Our Time.’ It will take the collective energy of NEA members and their allies to ship a convincing victory for our college students on the polls in November, Eskelsen García stated in her speech at this time. But can be as much as educators to leverage electoral success to result in desperately wanted change – specifically uprooting the inequality that, to the detriment of thousands and thousands of scholars, has develop into entrenched in each ZIP code throughout the nation.
Someday if you find yourself requested what you probably did when democracy was in peril; when your nation wanted you – you should have a strong reply: I used to be a part of the collective voice and collective energy that refused to be silent.”
“America never was America for too many Americans,” Eskelsen García stated, quoting poet Langston Hughes. “But what some folks who know that, haven’t figured out that this wasn’t by accident. Exclusion was intentional….Inequality is by design.”
Throughout U.S. historical past, folks in energy have labored the system to ensure their energy stayed intact. Opportunity for others has all the time been deemed a risk to their backside line. This damaging mindset, Eskelsen García advised the delegates at this time, is personified at this time by the Koch household and different billionaires who’ve aggressively sought to take advantage of the working class, tilt tax codes to their favor, destroy the surroundings … and assist manifestly unfit people to increased political workplace.
“They have corrupted our cherished word: freedom. And they have chosen their champion: Donald Trump,” stated Eskelsen García, who mocked the Trump marketing campaign’s determined and offensive try to recast their pre-COVID, pre-economic collapse re-election slogan, “Keep American Great” to “Make America Great … Again.” “A sick joke, an insult to reality,” she stated.
“When in the history of our country can you go back to when it was better for African Americans? When was it better for women? When was it better for immigrants or the poor or Native Americans or LGBTQ people or Latinos or Asians or Pacific Islanders any people of color?”
Eskelsen García reminded the delegates that educators have all the time made their mark on historical past. In current years, their voices have been louder than ever, standing up for gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and the 800,000 DREAMERS who stay, research, and work within the United States.
“In the darkest occasions of injustice in our nation, there have been courageous, abnormal individuals who will act. Who will actually stand collectively and say, “No. This isn’t proper. And Yes, I’m able to do one thing about it.
“You will be leaders in defining what democracy will look like in our country,” Eskelsen García continued. “And someday when you are asked what you did when democracy was in peril; when your country needed you – you will have a powerful answer: I was part of the collective voice and collective power that refused to be silent.”