AFT Resolution

COMBATING WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM

WHEREAS, on Aug. 12, 2017, Charlottesville, Va., saw the largest turnout of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in our nation in generations; and

WHEREAS, the terror and violence, including the death of one peaceful protestor, Heather Heyer, was a turning point for our country and is a test of moral clarity for all Americans; and

WHEREAS, there is no room for equivocation when it comes to groups whose avowed goal is to destroy and terrorize those they hate: You either stand against racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry or you don’t; you either stand against hate groups and white supremacy or you don’t; you either stand for our freedoms for all, and for the safety and security of everyone—particularly people of color and those of other marginalized communities—or you don’t; and

WHEREAS, President Donald Trump has failed this test of moral clarity, not only by failing to unequivocally and fully repudiate white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups, but by attempting to create a false equivalency between those who protested this terror and intimidation, and the white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups; and

WHEREAS, white supremacists and neo-Nazis have said they feel empowered to come out of the shadows and inflict further terror on American communities as a result of what transpired in Charlottesville and after, and the demonstrations in Boston and elsewhere are a testament to this; and

WHEREAS, Trump has failed to do what any other president would do to reject hate and fulfill his chief obligation to marshal all of the resources at the federal government’s disposal to keep all Americans safe; and

WHEREAS, white supremacists and hate groups are targeting public college and university campuses; and

WHEREAS, as a union, we denounce the hate and bigotry that was on display in Charlottesville and is being unmasked in communities across the country in the strongest possible terms; and

WHEREAS, the AFT has a long and proud history of fighting for equality and freedom for all; fighting against bigotry and hate; safeguarding the civil rights of all; and championing great neighborhood public schools, good jobs that pay a living wage and provide a secure retirement, high-quality and affordable healthcare, and a strong and vibrant democracy that includes a free press, an independent judiciary, a thriving labor movement, and protection of the right to vote; and

WHEREAS, AFT members play a critical role as educators, public employees and caregivers in keeping communities safe and opening the minds of young people by teaching tolerance, critical thinking and history and by strengthening pluralism and democracy; and

WHEREAS, our freedoms as a nation are invaluable, and the right to associate, to speak and to protest must be protected, no matter how heinous and despicable that speech is, but voice and violence are two different things; the terrorism inflicted by white supremacists in Charlottesville and elsewhere is a public safety issue; and

WHEREAS, this moment requires more than simply denouncing hatred; it requires action to protect the basic rights and safety of children, families and communities from those who peddle terror and hate, and action to educate our community, particularly our children, about tolerance, truth and the importance of democracy and pluralism:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers condemns hatred and bigotry in all forms and will mobilize our members and invest our resources to combat hatred, bigotry and the terror inflicted on Americans by white supremacists and their ilk, while at the same time fighting to educate our children, safeguard the civil liberties of the American people and keep communities safe; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, and our state and local affiliates, will partner with and support other groups, elected officials and individuals standing against hate groups and white supremacy; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will hold all elected officials accountable for standing up to hatred, white supremacy and violence and for promoting equality for all Americans; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to promote the power of education by providing resources and support to children and families through Share My Lesson and other channels, and through convening and participating in town halls, and on campuses; and

RESOLVED, we encourage AFT state and local affiliates to support all public school educators by providing age-appropriate ways of discussing hatred and intolerance by widely promoting the lessons and materials on Share My Lesson and other platforms that address the racist and anti-Semitic terrorist events in Charlottesville and affirm our place as role models against hate; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT demands a stepped-up level of action by state attorneys general and the U.S. attorney general, not simply to investigate what happened in Charlottesville but to probe deeper into the agenda of white supremacist organizations and their neo-Nazi allies, and the AFT further calls for implementation of a clear plan of action that will ensure bias-motivated violence and harassment is prosecuted swiftly and aggressively to keep our communities safe; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT calls on Congress to censure President Trump for refusing to fully repudiate white supremacy and neo-Nazis, defending the actions of hate groups and emboldening their cause; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support peaceful, nonviolent counter-demonstrations—such as the protest in Boston, where tens of thousands showed up to counter hate groups—and other ways to combat the vile hatred witnessed in Charlottesville; and

RESOLVED, we encourage AFT state and local affiliates to bring resolutions like this one to their memberships, local school boards, city councils and other community venues so this fight can be fought in every community in America.

(2017)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.