The American Federation of Teachers will host its 86th biennial convention virtually this year, welcoming nearly 4,000 delegates from around the country across the union’s K-12, paraprofessional, higher education, healthcare and public employee divisions. The general sessions will be held daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time, and open to the press via a livestream on AFT’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AFTunion or on AFT’s website: https://www.aft.org/. To follow the convention on social media, please use the hashtag #AFT20.
AFT President Randi Weingarten will give her State of the Union address at the beginning of the session on Tuesday, July 28, which will reiterate the convention’s themes of using activism and elections as a way to reimagine a better life and a better country, and plot a path forward during these uncertain times. Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, recipient of AFT’s Bayard Rustin Human Rights award, will also be honored during this session. The election for Weingarten’s seventh term as AFT’s national president, which was to be held at the convention, originally scheduled to be in Houston, is being held via mail ballot according to the union’s constitution, and results will be announced at a later date.
To schedule an interview with President Weingarten or any AFT officer during the convention, please contact Andrew Crook at firstname.lastname@example.org. To request an interview with any of the guest speakers, please contact them or their press operations directly—the AFT is unable to coordinate interviews with the guest speakers. Press will not be required to RSVP to watch livestreams of the general sessions; however the union business sessions will not be livestreamed. Information on union business will be made available to the press as necessary.
The schedule for the general sessions is as follows, however this is approximate and subject to change. Additional speakers may be added.
Tuesday, July 28:
11:00 a.m.: Opening and Welcome
11:15 a.m.: President Randi Weingarten, State of the Union
12:15 p.m.: Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, Bayard Rustin Award
Wednesday, July 29:
11:00 a.m.: Black Lives Matter Panel with Randi Weingarten; New York Democratic Congressional Nominee Jamaal Bowman; Leslie Redmond, president, Minneapolis NAACP; and others
Noon: Economic Panel with Randi Weingarten and author Anand Giridharadas
12:40 p.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
12:55 p.m.: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Thursday, July 30:
11:00 a.m.: Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda
11:25 a.m.: Presentation of Women’s Rights Award to professor and historian Diane Ravitch
11:30 a.m.: Public Education Panel with Randi Weingarten, Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, AFT-West Virginia Vice President and AFT-Fayette President Tega Toney
12:20 p.m.: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
12:25 p.m.: Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden