Good morning. This is the second of three summer eBulletin editions. We’ll send out one more before we resume weekly newsletters after Labor Day.
We begin with some very sad news. We regret to inform everyone that Kathy Kelley, BTU President from 1979-1983, passed away on Sunday night. This is a huge loss to our community, and we send condolences to her many friends and family members. Last year Kathy was featured in a new short video we made about the history of the BTU. We hope you take a moment to view it. Her leadership, her passion and her legacy will live on in the work we do.
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Over the last two weeks, the negotiating team and staff spent two full days in contract mediation/negotiations as well as in hours of preparation. We are working diligently to make progress and will continue to plan, meet and work on a comprehensive approach to reach a resolution that is good for students and fair to our members. As part of this goal, please be on the lookout for information about the launch of our BTU ALL IN campaign at the start of the school year.
While we were working on the contract, many of our members were also at the BTU office completing a 30-hour intensive Orton Gillingham training and hundreds more completed their final days of summer teaching! If you are interested in sharing your feedback and experience with the new Summer Learning Network, please consider taking this quick survey.
Lastly, as summer winds down and we begin to focus our attention back to our classrooms and schools, many of us will be thinking about how to help our students understand the senseless violence that unfolded in Charlottesville this past weekend. The leadership of our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), responded with a powerful statement:
What happened in Charlottesville exposed a dark turning point in America. It is not just a sobering reminder of the very real racism and anti-Semitism running through the veins of Americans, but a call to stand up to the forces of hate and division in this country that feel emboldened today. White supremacists and Nazis now feel empowered to come out of the shadows and inflict terror on American communities.
We stand with those who stood up to this racism and anti-Semitism yesterday. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer and the injury of other peaceful protestors. And we continue to denounce the hate and bigotry that was on display in Charlottesville and is being unmasked in communities across the country. But this moment requires more than simply denouncing hatred; it requires action to protect the basic rights and safety of American families from those who peddle terror and hate.
Unfortunately, “alt-right” groups are planning to rally in Boston Common this Saturday, August 19 at the bandstand. We know of two groups planning actions to counter-protest and spread a message of #LoveOverHate and to stake a very firm stand that these hate groups have no place in Boston. The two Saturday events are Fight Supremacy! Boston Counter-Protest and Resistance Rally, which will march from Roxbury down to the Common, and Stand for Solidarity, meeting at the State House.
While I will be away this weekend to represent the AFT at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Convention and present on the harms of privatization of public education to our labor allies there, many of the BTU leadership plan to attend events in solidarity. Please contact Farah Assiraj at email@example.com for the Roxbury march and Vice President Erik Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org for the State House event if you would like to join one of our contingents.
During these troubling times, it is more important than ever that we stand together in solidarity with each other, our students and our community. We will continue to do that.