We Want a Union That Believes Black Lives Matter

During the week of February 5th-9th, in schools across the country, educators are taking part in a National Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The week of action has three central demands: 1) to end zero tolerance discipline policies and implement restorative justice, 2) to hire more Black teachers, and 3) to mandate Black history and ethnic studies be taught throughout the K-12 curriculum.

The Black Lives Matter Week of Action is part of a long history of teachers standing up for what is right, in our classrooms, in our schools, and in our communities. Most teacher unions agree: The Chicago Teachers Union, the New Jersey Education Association, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the Seattle Education Association and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association are among the growing list of teachers unions that have voted to support this crucial and timely week of anti-racist action in schools. The National Education Association’s Human & Civil Rights Department has even developed a website for teachers to share stories and resources.

Yet at the United Federation of Teachers Delegates Assembly on January 17, 2018, the largest teachers’ local in the country, at the leadership’s suggestion and after only five minutes of debate, voted against supporting the NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action. Delivering the union leadership’s rationale against the resolution, LeRoy Barr, the Assistant Secretary of the UFT and the chair of the ruling Unity caucus, called Black Lives Matter a “divisive” issue. He argued that with the anticipated Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME, which will likely allow public sector workers to receive union representation and benefits without paying union dues, it is crucial to remain “united.”

But united in support of what? The Black Lives Matter week of action is about uniting to support students by implementing restorative justice, hiring Black teachers, and teaching Black history and ethnic studies. These are basic anti-racist demands that any organization of educators should get behind. Furthermore, most of the students we teach and the families we serve in NYC are Black and Latino. No doubt they can unite behind these demands. This week of action is just one of the ways educators can build greater solidarity with the communities we serve. Far from being divisive, this is about unifying and strengthening our union and the communities we serve.

If, in the face of the attack on collective bargaining that Janus represents, we are in fact divided, it is because we have failed to engage and organize the union’s membership. The privatization of schools has disproportionately hurt the careers of Black teachers. As a union, we should know that an injury to one is literally an injury to all. A union that can’t support a movement to make “Black Lives Matter” won’t be able to build the solidarity necessary to overcome Janus and other right-wing attacks on working people.

We have to rebuild our union from the bottom-up and educate ourselves and each other about the problems we face and the steps we can take together to confront them. Grassroots collective actions in our schools—such as the Black Lives Matter Week of Action—can be part of this process. We invite teachers across New York City to join us and other teachers around the country by taking part in February’s Black Lives Matter week of action as a first step to building a school system where Black Lives Matter.

NYC Black Lives Matter Week of Action Organizing Committee
Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Steering Committee
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE)

We are asking UFT members and members of the community that support our statement to sign on as an individual. We will release the names of everyone who has signed on after February’s week of action to show the broad support this statement has and encourage UFT leaders and members to support the week of action in the future. If you’d like to sign on as an individual please fill out this form.

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RSVP for NYCoRE’s September Meeting **NEW LOCATION!!**

It’s time for NYCoRE’s first meeting of the 2016-2017 School Year!

**Please note that we’re at a NEW location this year, so it’s ESPECIALLY important that you RSVP!**

Location:
iMentor
30 Broad Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY

Date:
Friday, September 16

Time:
5-5:30PM Food and mingle
5:30-8:00 PM Member Meeting

**Please note that we’re starting earlier this year to allow for more time for eating and mingling!**

In this meeting, we will be reviewing our membership expectations for the year, our commitment to being an antiracist organization, our Points of Unity, our history, as well as our political lens.

We’ll be exploring these questions:
How do structural racism, whiteness, and white supremacy manifest in the public school system?
What does neoliberalism have to do with education reform?
How can we as educators resist the forces that attack the public education system?

Additionally, we’ll have some time for Working Groups to check in and meet new members.

Please join us as we strengthen our collective political analysis and prepare for the work of this school year!

**Once again, PLEASE RSVP below to give us a head count for food and so we can notify security!**

NYCoRE

http://www.nycore.org

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NYCoRE Conference Biennial Statement

Hello NYCoRE Family,

Over last seven years, the annual NYCoRE conference has grown from a small gathering of 150 people, to over 1200 students, educators, activists and community members!  We have worked hard to create an inclusive and justice-oriented space filled with new ideas, art, education and love.  Through the years, we have developed many exciting features, such as child care, kids track, inclusive name tags, interactive arts, pass the hat, a social media team, youth open mic lunch, breakfast/lunch/snack, all day coffee, community and raffle time with a DJ, organizational and sales tables, stellar keynote speakers, and over 75 annual youth and adult-led workshops.  Thank you for your support as we continue to build toward a radical and socially just world.

While our conference has grown in attendance, effort, workshops, and mouths to feed, our capacity has not.  We have always been and continue to be an all-volunteer grassroots organization made up of people employed in other full-time jobs.  Because of our commitment to continue to maintain the high quality of the NYCoRE conference, we have decided to move to a biennial model.  From now on, we will hold the conference every other year, in the off years of the Free Minds Free People conference, put on by one of our sister organizations, The Education for Liberation Network.  Therefore, NYCoRE will not hold our event in 2017, but will be back in 2018 for our 8th, now biennial, conference.  

Thank you for your understanding and support.
NYCoRE

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