07/16/2010

Weingarten to NAACP: AFT Will Stand with Community

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  Pictured from left: NAACP president Ben Jealous; retired AFL-CIO staffer Richard Womack; Weingarten; Dawn Franklin from the NAACP; Roslyn Brock, chair of the NAACP board of directors; and NEA staffer Cynthia Swann.
  Pictured from left: NAACP president Ben Jealous; retired AFL-CIO staffer Richard Womack; Weingarten; Dawn Franklin from the NAACP; Roslyn Brock, chair of the NAACP board of directors; and NEA staffer Cynthia Swann.

In a July 14 speech to the NAACP labor luncheon, AFT president Randi Weingarten assured the pre-eminent civil rights organization and its leaders that the AFT would stand with them on Oct. 2 for the "One Nation" march on Washington, D.C.

"The AFT will be a full partner in the One Nation march on Washington," Weingarten said. "We will march with you for good jobs, good public schools, taking good care of our environment and immigration reform."

The luncheon was held during the NAACP's annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. During her remarks, Weingarten pointed out that the AFT has long supported the civil rights movement––and the fight for economic and social justice. "Our common cause is nothing new," she said, citing the union's backing of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education, as well as the AFT's efforts to ensure "equal and adequate funding for schools serving large numbers of disadvantaged students."

"Your fight is our fight, and our fight is your fight."

Weingarten, who received the NAACP's Keeper of the Flame Award during the luncheon, outlined the national union's vision for strong neighborhood schools for all children, including a well-rounded curriculum, effective approaches to helping all teachers improve, and shared responsibility.

"The opportunity for a great education should come not by chance, not even by choice, but by right," Weingarten said. 

The AFT, she said, is committed to making "common cause" with the community. "We must link arms with groups in our community to fight together for good public services, access to our universities, good healthcare systems and, yes, excellent public schools." 

AFT vice president and Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English was among the AFT members in attendance at this year's NAACP convention, which featured an AFT booth with information on community schools. 

On July 16, Weingarten addressed the League of United Latin American Citizens, where she reiterated the AFT's commitment to working with communities on behalf of children and families, and once again emphasized the need for shared responsibility in improving the nation's public schools. AFT vice presidents Kathy Chavez, president of the Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association, and Christine Trujillo, president of AFT New Mexico, attended the LULAC convention. [Roger Glass/Photo by Rex Purefoy]

July 16, 2010