While attending the Netroots Nation convention in Atlanta this week I heard from many different speakers and I have to say one of my favorite speeches came from Becky Pringle, the Vice President of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest labor union in the country, with over 3 million members.
Her amazingly powerful speech called on the members of Netroots Nation to stand up and take action.
“It is you, who will engage and inspire; lift up and connect our collective voices to create the kind of schools and communities and country that reflect our hopes; our dreams; our possibilities.“
“We need you to stand in the gap for our children, when the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights refuses to protect their most basic of human and civil rights.”
She continued by showing how President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are working together to “decimate” our public school system.
“President Trump and Sec. DeVos made it very clear that their educational priority was to decimate our public schools, and destroy the dreams of those students who come to us with the greatest needs.”
She highlighted how the Trump/DeVos agenda attacks some of the most vulnerable children in our public school system. Together they slashed education funding by $10 billion dollars and repealed protections that provided a “safe learning environment for our trans students.”
“From jeopardizing Title IX protections to refusing to agree to not privatize the education of our students with special needs, to making the case for guns in the classroom to fight off the attack of the grizzly bears, Betsy DeVos demonstrated that she knew absolutely nothing about schools and kids and education.”
Once again she called on Netroots Nation to be bold and unafraid, to take a stand and to help fight to ensure that every child has healthcare, has strong civil rights protections, and to address the institutional racism.
“This is our time to demand what’s right, just like Mother Jones, that great labor organizer, who many called the most dangerous woman in America, because she proudly proclaimed: I’m not afraid of the pen, or the scaffold, or the sword. I will tell the truth wherever I please.”
“Netroots Nation, let’s be the most dangerous collective voice in this country. Let’s tell the truth wherever we please.”
“It is us, who must stand and be a witness. We must use our collective power, and with righteous indignation demand justice for our children.”