MSEA and our members have a long history of advocating for racial and social justice issues, whether at the local, state, or national levels. Recently, at the state level, MSEA was a strong advocate for the passage of the Maryland Dream Act as well as legislation to establish marriage equality. In our advocacy for the passage of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, we have placed an emphasis on making sure that equity is the centerpiece of the long-overdue new funding formula that Maryland’s students need. MSEA has a long tradition of opposing dangerous standardized tests that for so many years left strong students behind because of the white-centered contexts, and strongly advocating for cultural competence, restorative practices, fair discipline policies, reducing suspensions, and equitable opportunities for all students. MSEA has also provided professional development opportunities for members on racial and social justice issues for years, including accredited courses, webinars, book studies, workshops, conferences, summits, and town hall meetings.
But more work remains. Through trainings, advocacy, and education efforts, MSEA works to empower members to be agents of positive change to combat institutional racism, develop awareness of our own biases, and help to support greater social justice for all Maryland students and educators.
The tragic death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police has catalyzed a wave of frustration, grief, and activism over the continued injustice, institutional racism, and bias that negatively impact our Black and Brown students, colleagues, and neighbors.
Following are some resources, statements, and articles that you may find useful.
Statement from MSEA President Cheryl Bost
“My heart and soul are heavy as we grieve yet another Black person killed senselessly by a white police officer. We grieve with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, and the countless others who died for being Black in America. Grieving and condemning these actions are not enough. We must recognize and take a stand against institutional racism and white privilege that exist throughout our state and country. This must include an end to the murder of Black men, women, and children at the hands of police officers who are sworn to protect us all or at the hands of white supremacists.
“I fear for our Black and Brown students and can’t imagine the fear their parents and families must feel each time they step outside. Nobody, no matter their race, deserves to live in fear. MSEA calls for policies to be put in place in Maryland and throughout the country to protect Black and Brown lives and erase the structural and institutional racism and inequities that have been built into the fabric of our country. We will work with our local associations and allies for however long it takes to ensure this happens.
“We must all support educators, families, and students who are impacted and traumatized by these recent, but not unique, racist murders and actions. Students and educators will need time, space, and support services to process this trauma, so we will call on and work with our school system leaders to provide for the needs of our educators and students in this time of such deadly racist acts.
“No more excuses. No more denial. No more it’s not my problem.”
NEA Statement and Resources
Click here to read the NEA’s statement about the killing of George Floyd.
Click here for a range of resources from NEA and allied organizations on how to deal with acts of racism and hate; white supremacy; talking about race in the classroom; helping children cope with a traumatic event; and teaching tolerance and acceptance.
Click here for NEA EdJustice resources on Black Lives Matter at School, Talking about Race, Implicit Bias, and more.
You can also find resources and links to local organizations and action steps from Education Minnesota at this link.
Click here to watch our Learn More at 4 episode from Wednesday, June 3 to see an extended episode with special guests including Ben Jealous, Ann Todd Jealous, and Merwyn Scott as we discuss the current inequities in our educational system and have a conversation about institutional racism and the role of educators in supporting, advocating for, and protecting students of color.
Below are a number of articles from MSEA: