Statement from MEA President on education and the fight against racism

EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attribute to MEA President Paula Herbart in response to the ongoing protests and racial unrest in our country:

“The protests we have witnessed across our state and throughout the nation over the past several days should serve as a wake-up call for both police officers and citizens. The senseless murder of George Floyd is a stark reminder that there is much work to be done to repair our justice system and, indeed, the social fabric of our country. MEA grieves the loss of Mr. Floyd – and too many others.

“We stand in solidarity with the black community, the Black Lives Matter movement, and everyone fighting against institutional racism in America. As educators, we must lift up the voices of the oppressed and work to dismantle systemic racism.

“One of the answers to violence is education. The answer to racism and injustice is education. Education promotes dialogue, and dialogue leads to solutions. School employees have a critical role to play in fostering that dialogue with the goal of creating more tolerance and understanding among all races.

“While the visuals from a number of cities were difficult to watch, there were also hopeful signs. In Flint, the Genesee County sheriff took off his helmet, put down his weapon, talked to those in the streets, and walked with protesters demanding justice.

“While there is much work to be done, MEA is committed to the cause. Many of our members, students, and staff are engaged in this struggle, and this gives us hope and inspiration.”

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