Press Release

AFT President on the Death of Michael Brown and Events in Ferguson, Mo.

For Release: 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Janet Bass

WASHINGTON— Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the events in Ferguson, Mo.

"The events unfolding in Ferguson are exposing exactly what excessive polarization and imbalances of power are doing to our society—unraveling even the most basic dignity and respect. Today is supposed to be the first day of school in Ferguson, but this would-be time of promise is instead filled with despair. At a time like this, when an unarmed student was gunned down, we must mourn and we must investigate, as President Obama has promised to do. And though I pray for the family of Michael Brown and the families of all young black and brown men who are grappling with this tragedy, prayers aren't enough. We must come together and act, which starts with both healing and respecting peaceful protest. Ultimately, we must overcome the polarization and divisiveness—because every child deserves to grow up in a safe and welcoming community."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.