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USA: Educators join in public outcry and demand justice for George Floyd

Addressing the Minneapolis Police Department, Minnesota’s elected officials, and the media, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Personnel demand justice after the death of George Floyd, a black citizen, while he was arrested by police officers. They are calling members and concerned citizens for solidarity by adding their names to their petition.

The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Personnel (MFT), affiliated to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) – both Education International’s member organisations – strongly reacted after George Floyd’s death on 25 May, and launched a petition.

“No justice, no peace”

“The emotions that engulfed Minneapolis in flames this week are demonstrations of pain and cries for justice. These uprisings symbolise the hurt, fear and anger that are boiling over in the face of anti-blackness and continued racial and social injustice,” the educators’ union stressed.

For the MFT, as activists in communities across the country chant “no justice, no peace,” the only choice is to create a different path. They demand justice be served.

They highlighted that Floyd was unarmed, handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Three officers pinned him to the ground, and one pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and kept it there for more than eight minutes. The fourth officer stood over them and did nothing to intervene. Floyd begged for his life, as did concerned citizens on the street. The cries for mercy went unheard, and cellphone video captured the last minutes of Floyd’s life.

“We must lead by example with our students and our communities and do everything we can not to cause more harm,” the petition urges. “Together, we can make meaning of this historic moment.”

The MFT insists that it is “seeking justice not just for Floyd but for all who continue to fight for social and racial justice while being labeled as ‘thugs’”.  It also notes that all four officers should have been charged immediately.

MFT’s calls

The MFT therefore called:

  • for charges against the other three officers to be filed immediately – They were charged on 3 June with aiding in Floyd’s death. The officer who held his knee on George Floyd’s neck was charged with second-degree murder.
  • on Minnesota’s elected leaders to disinvest from over-policing and over-enforcement and invest in public education, affordable housing and essential community needs.
  • on the media to refocus the narrative on justice for George Floyd and all black people who have been wrongly murdered.
  • on members to stand in solidarity with communities on the ground.

 

Sign the MFT petition

The education union wishes to honour George Floyd’s memory “by using it as a light that guides our nation down a different path free from the pain and suffering, we all feel today. Stand in solidarity with the educators and residents of Minneapolis, and with our union siblings who are peacefully protesting with us, by adding your name to our petition.”

The petition is available here