WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers reaffirms Black Lives Matter, and
WHEREAS, the statement Black Lives Matter means that until people of African descent are treated with dignity, humanity, and respect in all areas of our society and the barriers to their safety and health and full participation in the economy and wealth creation are dismantled, all lives do not matter, and
WHEREAS, our work is grounded in the fight for fairness so that every person we serve achieves their highest good, and
WHEREAS, throughout our history, our union has demonstrated that belief, time and time again, through our collaboration with and support for local and national organizations working toward the equity, access, and empowerment of every student and family we serve, and
WHEREAS, representation of and participation in heterogeneous communities allow each of us to grow in our understanding of the human condition and establish our role in the improvement of our society, and
WHEREAS, anti-Black police violence continues to take place in the United States without accountability; and
WHEREAS New York City represents nearly 60% of NY state’s total population of Black students, and
WHEREAS, we recognize that our students are harmed in our schools as the result of ongoing systemic problems, including segregation, funding disparities, and lack of equal access to academic, artistic, professional and cultural opportunities, and
WHEREAS, we know that these systemic barriers consistently, disproportionately impact Black students; and
WHEREAS, the UFT supports culturally responsive educational practices, including but not limited to, efforts to diversify New York City’s educational staff so that it more closely reflects its student population, and the expansion of Black studies as well as Asian, Latinx, Native American studies programs and LGBTQ history in our Pre-K-12 classrooms, and
WHEREAS, the UFT has supported recruitment, training and retention initiatives including, but not limited to, NYC Men Teach, the NYC Teaching Fellows, the Success via Apprenticeship Program, Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers, and the Young Men’s Initiative; and
WHEREAS, we are personally and professionally committed to the health and well-being of every student and staff member in our schools; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, the UFT reaffirms our commitment to policies, initiatives and movements that promote respect for and inclusion of Black students and educators and move affirmatively to make it a reality, and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT continues to urge its members to amplify our demand for justice, change and equity by supporting Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action scheduled for February 2021 and other activities in the schools throughout the year and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will bring the 13 Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement to the entire school year by participating in and sharing resources from the National Black Lives Matter at School Steering Committee’s new initiative, its Year of Purpose; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will join annually with the AFT, NEA and NYSUT and proactively encourage its members to invest in critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities, for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will call for members to: participate in the planning of community forums and the creation and implementation of age-appropriate Pre-K-12 curricular resources; utilize the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework (CRSE); and initiate school and community discussions around the actions needed to affirm racial justice; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT continues to recruit, develop and retain a membership that reflects the demographics of the city in which we work and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will call for members to: use tools such as the AFT “Share My Lesson” website, including titles such as, Teaching About Bias, Diversity and Social Justice; exchange lesson ideas, instructional materials and resources about these socially relevant topics with one another; use the tools of the NYSUT Civil and Human Rights Committee and of the BLM at School Curriculum at www.blacklivesmatteratschool.com (in the public domain); and share resources from Teaching Tolerance, NEA Ed Justice during Black History Month and beyond, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT reaffirms its past, present and future commitment to providing inclusive educational opportunities including, but not limited to scholarships, community partnerships and events that support the advancement of students of color, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT seeks reapportionment of city and state funds to bring resources into Black communities to foster self-determination and awareness through education, entrepreneurship, home ownership and the means to reverse generational economic disparities and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT proactively engage in the necessary work to dismantle inequities in our systems through its coalition partners so that our students and families have access to employment, affordable housing and quality healthcare and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will continue to work with local, state and federal elected officials to secure permanent housing for our homeless students and students in temporary housing, and be it further
RESOLVED, the UFT stands in solidarity with Black students and educators as well as all communities of conscience, in the struggle for a more supportive, equitable and fair school system and society, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT will commit to making demands along with student groups such as IntegrateNYC and Teens Take Charge and call on the NYC Department of Education and City Council to work towards undoing systemic racism and in so doing to:
- End Zero Tolerance discipline in schools
- Mandate Black and Ethnic Studies in schools
- Hire more Black educators
- Fund more counselors, social workers, and mental health specialists
- Fully integrate our schools with proper and equitable funding for librarians, PSAL sports, and access to technology.
The 13 Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement
- Restorative Justice
We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
- Loving Engagement
We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation and peace in our engagements with one another.
We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.
We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.
- Queer Affirming
We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.
- Trans Affirming
We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
- Collective Value
We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.
We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with capacity to lead and learn.
- Black Families
We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enabling parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.
- Black Villages
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.
- Unapologetically Black
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
- Black Women
We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny and male‐centeredness.
Visit the national Black Lives Matter at School website »