The East Side Teachers Association is an affiliate of the California Teachers Association which exists to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society. While this letter should have been drafted and released already, sometimes it is best to come up with the right words before speaking or addressing an issue as great as the one we are faced with right now. Sadly, this issue is not a new one but it is one that we have attempted to deny, overlook and/or pretend that we didn’t see for far too long.
An overwhelming majority of us were outraged that the life of George Floyd was taken with such a gross disregard for his humanity. This brings to light the startling fact that this is not the first time this has happened or even the first time it has been brought to our attention. This aggression by the police directed at Black people has been normalized to the point where too many of us have desensitized to such a high degree that we would turn a blind eye to it each time it was recorded for the world to see- not to mention the times we were made aware but refused to believe it without ocular proof. Even then, we justified or made excuses for bad behavior and past practices that are no longer being accepted today. We can no longer silently accept as the status quo the mistreatment of Black people in the United States of America. While hundreds of thousands are protesting peacefully nationally and globally, we are committed to the objective of these protests which is equality and justice for all. We are in the midst of the largest civil rights movement in history. Where we go from here will define who we are: no longer color blind to the plight of the Black community. Let us commit to being the change by no longer being silent when we see people being treated unfairly, or dehumanized or made to feel “less than”. We all belong here and our differences should be embraced not overlooked or ignored. It is time to have long overdue conversations about race in America because right now the melting pot has boiled over.