WE Statement on #Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter

Last night, a grand jury declined to charge Darren Wilson, the police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The Caucus of Working Educators stands in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri and the parents of the Michael Brown in their disappointment of this ruling.

As teachers in the city of Philadelphia, we work every day to help our students see that their lives matter. We fight for quality public schools that will give every student the opportunity to feel that their voices, opinions, and lives are valued and cared for.

However, moments such as the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the murder of Mike Brown teach our students a different story. This story -as well as the story of 12 year old Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and many others- says that the lives of black and brown youth don’t matter. These stories paint our students as criminals, rather than the intelligent and loving young men and women we know they are.

WE stand in solidarity with everyone across the country fighting for #blacklivesmatter. WE are inspired by the millions of young people in Ferguson and around the country who have said “We’ve had enough”, and have stood up for justice for Mike Brown and the countless number of black men and women who continue to die at the hands of police officers under questionable circumstances.

It is time now for the Attorney General Eric Holder to continue the federal case and find justice for Michael Brown. We encourage teachers in Philadelphia to discuss the verdict with your colleagues and students in your school. We will not be able to save public education without fighting for racial justice and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline at the same time. You can find many articles and resources to spark your discussion by searching #FergusonSyllabus.

Until we stop sanitizing the issue of race, class, and its connection to how American justice is delegated, we will never find a real sustainable solution.