UTNO Statement of Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

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The story of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers is all too familiar. Just in the past couple of months, we have seen Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Tony McDade in Florida and Modesto Reyes in Louisiana, killed by police. These senseless killings of Black people must stop. In addition, President Trump, and many other politicians have stoked the fires by encouraging violence in the language of white supremacy. He has called to crush the protests using military force, and the increased militarization of police forces across the U.S. is a danger to the lives and freedom of all Americans. All this must stop.

United Teachers of New Orleans has a long-standing history of fighting for the civil rights and dignity of not only teachers, paraprofessionals, and students, but custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and school nurses. We believe that we cannot extricate our work as educators and the work we do with youth and students from the broader realities of what is happening in society. We know that our school systems are often microcosms of larger systems and are not immune to the forces of oppression, racism, and inequity. We realize that the battles we are facing are not new and believe that it will take continued collective action to fight the injustices that our most vulnerable populations face. We stand in solidarity with those protesting police brutality across America and the world, and those unions who are refusing to partake in the violent response from many police forces. We each must advocate for what is right, and expose those who aim to hurt others.

Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of those murdered, and we will continue to fight for a better future for our children. We stand against hate, racism, and white supremacy and are united in our ideals of education, justice, and democracy.