SPRINGFIELD – Please attribute the statement below to IEA President Kathi Griffin, in regard to the recent deaths of George Floyd while being taken into custody this week by Minneapolis police; Breonna Taylor, who was sleeping in bed in Louisville, Ky., when police burst in to serve a warrant on the wrong person and Taylor was killed; and Ahmaud Aubery, who died at the hands of two men tied to the local police department in Brunswick, Ga.
“These tragedies are examples of what systemic racism is in its purest and most heartbreaking form. As a union that works toward racial and social justice every day, we feel compelled to say something. It is up to us – all of us – to look inside, to be introspective. How can we make change? How can we look inside our own communities to ensure these same acts of violence don’t happen where we live? What conversations can we start that will lead to reform, that will bring social justice? How can we build better relationships between law enforcement and the communities law enforcement serves? Between schools and the communities we serve? If we are the America we say we are, we need to find a way to come together and do this work. We all need to be courageous and move beyond our comfort zones to speak out against these tragedies and injustices whenever they occur. The senseless killing of people of color must stop. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’”
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.