Press Release

Thousands of Educators to Gather Virtually for AFT Convention

Delegates Will Hear from Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, New York Congressional Democratic Nominee Jamaal Bowman, Author Anand Giridharadas, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader

For Release: 

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603

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: or on AFT’s website: 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 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

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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.