AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has long been committed to the principle of true equality for all people, without regard to race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other of the unique differences that define and unite this great nation; and

WHEREAS, racism and racial discrimination threaten humanity by preventing fulfillment of basic human rights; and

WHEREAS, the quest for fairness and objectivity in the judicial system is an ongoing struggle; and

WHEREAS, the AFT recognizes that racist attitudes and actions are learned behaviors usually passed from adult to child; and

WHEREAS, there is no place in our nation, including schools, colleges, healthcare facilities and institutions, both government and private, for racism or the tolerance of racial separation:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers denounce the widely reported acceptance of a "white tree" at Jena High School in Jena, La., symbolizing the worst form of racism; and

RESOLVED, that the symbolism associated with nooses hanging from a tree must not be perceived as a "prank" in any scenario; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT assert that school discipline and the law must be applied equally to all; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT condemn the transparent discrepancies between the criminal charges issued against the six African-American Jena, La., youths and the penalties applied to the white students in Jena; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT appeal to those in power to remove all rules, policies and procedures that encourage, protect, sanction and/or ignore racial prejudice; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call upon the U.S. Justice Department to investigate this situation and take the appropriate legal action to prevent its repetition anywhere in our nation; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call upon its members throughout the nation to continue to take a proactive stance in support of tolerance, fairness and justice in our schools and the communities in which they exist.  [AFT executive council, October 2007]