AFT Convention Daily: July 29, 2020

Randi Weingarten and BLM panel

Continuing the conversation on racism

Conversations about the three crises facing the country—the public health crisis, the economic crisis and the crisis of systemic racism—are embedded in this year’s AFT convention. A July 29 panel discussion focused on racism in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. The panel included the Rev. Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change; New York Democratic congressional nominee Jamaal Bowman; Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP; and Sari Beth Rosenberg, a history teacher in New York City. AFT President Randi Weingarten led the conversation.

Evelyn DeJesus in Puerto Rico

AFT shows up for Puerto Rico

The passion and power of AFT activism shone brightly July 29 as AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus kicked off a discussion of economic issues for working families. “Today I would like to talk about our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico and how, in the AFT, we care, we fight and we show up for these members,” she said. “We showed up after hurricanes in 2017. We showed up after the earthquakes early this year. And now we are fighting together in this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Summer Educator Academy

Randi Weingarten and writer Anand Giridharadas

Fighting economic inequity

In a conversation on economic inequity, AFT President Randi Weingarten and writer Anand Giridharadas discussed how the American economy too often works only for the wealthy and not for everyone else. But through elections and activism, AFT members can fight back and ensure that working people have the salaries and supports they deserve. That’s because they belong to a union—one of the few remaining institutions with the size and influence to stand up for working people.

Chuck Schumer  and Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi and Schumer pledge support for pandemic relief funding

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to fight for a relief package centered on reopening schools safely, protecting frontline workers and helping America’s families get through the COVID-19 crisis. “When states opened too early a few months ago, it set off another stage of this disease. We will not repeat that same mistake when it comes to our teachers and our students,” said Schumer.

Census 2020

Michael Shunney with 3D mask maker

AFT members are recognized for courageous work

So many AFT members are longtime heroes, habitually putting their students, patients and others they serve before their own needs. This week AFT honored two members who have been particularly courageous: Michael Shunney, who led his students as they made hundreds of face shields to protect frontline workers from the coronavirus, and Katie Hyland, who joined a lawsuit against Navient to fight student debt and make college more accessible to more people.

Joe Biden

Delegates endorse Biden for president and reimagine society

Delegates to the AFT national convention overwhelmingly voted to endorse Joe Biden for president, saying the future of our democracy is on the line in this year’s election. And in a session packed with delegate votes on resolutions addressing several issues and policies, the convention voted to back the Green New Deal, to engage in a reimagining of a fair and just American society, to support a rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure, and to create new pipelines to leadership for the union’s young worker members.

PSI manifesto

Coming tomorrow:

  • Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Presentation of Women’s Rights Award to professor and historian Diane Ravitch
  • Public Education Panel
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
  • Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden

This daily update is produced by the AFT communications department.
Go to for more information and link to livestream.