SPRINGFIELD – The following statement is attributable to IEA President Kathi Griffin:
“As educators, we are tasked with the aftermath of what happened yesterday in Washington, D.C. – a day that brought out the darkest side of America. In our country, we hold tightly to our freedom. As we should, it is the bedrock of our founding. That freedom allows us to disagree with our government. It affords us the ability to peacefully gather. It lets us speak out loud what our minds are thinking. But it does not allow us the ability harm others. And, for many of us the images coming out of our nation’s Capitol, which symbolizes the American people and our government, are impossible to reconcile – the noose hanging from a gallows at a rally for the current President of our country; nooses around the necks of mannequins; a man in a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt; a group of men making “white power” hand gestures to news cameras; and Confederate flags waving inside our U.S. Capitol building – with the freedom to disagree. Newly-elected U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, from Oakland, Illinois, speaking at a rally Tuesday, invoked the words of Adolph Hitler. These aren’t actions of freedom. They are messages of hate and injustice. Today, we face our students. We may give them space to talk, time to write, the quiet to think. And, we must make them a promise that, as a country, we will do better.”
The following resources are available for educators:
- Teaching in Times of Crisis, Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
- Creating the Space to Talk about Race, Center for Social Justice, National Education Association
- Combatting White Nationalism at School Toolkit, Western States Center
- Black Lives Matter at School, NEA Ed Justice
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre K-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.