Press Release

AFT President Weingarten on Hurricane Harvey

For Release: 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Michael Heenan
202/585-4371; Cell:202/577-3941

WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Hurricane Harvey’s devastating destruction in Texas:

“As President Trump surveys Harvey’s damage, it’s imperative that he activate all the powers of the federal government, just as was done with Superstorm Sandy, to provide the necessary emergency relief funds to support rescue missions and prepare for rebuilding efforts. It’s times like these when Americans make judgments about their leaders, and the president must act swiftly to provide assistance, without any political rancor.

“In this moment of grave crisis, we are seeing the best come out in Americans. Neighbors are checking on the elderly, boat owners are using their vehicles to rescue stranded families, emergency responders are heroically working around the clock, and state leaders have reached out to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to offer assistance.

“This is not a time to play politics; it’s time to put people first and come together as Americans to support our brothers and sisters who are in harm’s way. To that end, we are demanding that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement not use this disaster as a way to target immigrants. No one should be afraid to call 911 just because of his or her immigration status. We are better than that.

“As a union representing educators and school staff across Texas, we’re continuing to coordinate with our locals on how we can support our members, the children and families we serve, and the people of Texas. We’ve activated the AFT’s Disaster Relief Fund—which has already raised more than $50,000—so AFT members and others can help their brothers and sisters in Texas, and we have posted resources on Share My Lesson to help students and families cope with the aftermath. The AFT is all in to help the people of Texas. We pray for their safety and good health as they wait out the remainder of the storm.”

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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.