Demand social justice and an end to police brutality
George Floyd struggled for his life for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a police officer thrust a knee against his neck, maintaining the pressure even as he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe” and bled on the ground. Americans saw what happened with their own eyes—bystanders recorded it on their cell phones—and responded with an outpouring of anger and grief. Now, those emotions are fueling a renewed, long overdue push for racial justice and an end to the police brutality that disproportionately kills African Americans, especially African American men like George Floyd.
“[This issue] is a cancer on our nation, and we must stand together to find the cure,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. To realize that goal, NEA has joined hundreds of organizations in calling on Congress to take swift and decisive legislative action. As a first step, we are urging legislators to support H. Res. 988, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), which condemns police brutality, racial profiling, and the use of excessive and militarized force while preserving civil rights, liberties, and protecting all people from police abuses. TAKE ACTION
Road to reopening runs through schools, yet McConnell refuses to act
Everyone agrees the road to reopening runs through America’s schools. But we can’t reopen them safely without taking costly steps to protect students and educators alike—steps that are unaffordable with massive budget cuts on the ways. We need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE); modify classrooms, cafeterias, and school buses to make social distancing possible; intensify instruction and support for students traumatized by the impact of the coronavirus on their families and communities; and more.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says there’s no immediate need to act. The truth is the longer the Senate delays, the greater the likelihood we’ll see a repeat of the Great Recession a decade ago, during which financially strapped states and localities cut essential student services and laid off tens of thousands of educators. This time, the damage could be even worse. NEA supports the HEROES Act passed by the House, which would provide $915 billion in direct relief for state and local governments and $90 billion to stabilize education funding. TAKE ACTION
Cheers and Jeers
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)cited NEA’s opposition in oral remarks urging rejection of Justin Walker’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted that he will introduce an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act to end the 1033 program that has transferred military weaponry to local police departments in at least at least eight states: California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.
Sen. Warren Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) supported having faculty and staff at the table when making decisions about reopening colleges and universities during a June 4 HELP Committee hearing, “COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) posted a video on Twitter to mark the first year anniversary of the House passing the American Dream and Promise Act.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed a resolution condemning the violation of peaceful demonstrators’ First Amendment rights by using gas and rubber bullets to disperse them on June 1 in Washington, DC.
Senator Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) killed Sen. Schumer’s request for a resolution condemning the use of gas and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights.