Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Salem Keizer Education Association Affirmation of a Welcoming and Inclusive Union

The Salem-Keizer Education Association boldly states and reaffirms that we are a welcoming and inclusive union who unequivocally and without reservation will do everything within the scope of our ability to protect all our students, their families, our members, and our extended community from any efforts by both individuals and entities meant to harm and prevent engagement and participation in a safe and caring educational environment.

This official statement recognizes our duty to: a) affirm and protect the rights of students of all backgrounds and cultures, b) urge policy and/or legislation protecting immigrant children and their families, c) vigorously support and defend the inalienable rights of LGBTQIA+ children, youth, and adults from the incursions of conversion therapy, discrimination, and restroom restrictions that attempt to curb the right to existence of these individuals, d) oppose a registry in any form that would detail and add to any database the personal information of individuals based on religious membership or affiliation and/or that would target or ban any of our friends, families and associates from exercising their freedom of religion, and e) work to resist the over criminalization of students of color within our criminal justice system by interrupting the School-to-Prison-Pipeline.

Additionally, the Board of Directors of the Salem Keizer Education Association supports its members’ constitutionally protected freedoms who choose to peacefully and nonviolently stand in solidarity with those community partners who reflect our values and work to promote social justice and equity for our most vulnerable constituents.

SKEA will distribute this motion as an official statement through all our existing means of communication.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in a recently published report, , placed Oregon in the top ten states with the most reported incidents of hate and intimidation nationwide in the ten days following the election of our current president-elect with two of the most frequently cited places where these hate incidents took place being in K-12 and university settings. The publication Willamette Week drilled deeper in their article, , and placed Oregon at the top of the list given that Oregon’s total population of 4 million people is well below the population of the other much larger states; thereby, giving Oregon the notorious distinction of leading the country in per capita hate incidents.

The reality of our city, state, and country for people who are targets of hate is deplorable and our reaction to these conditions is telling of our privilege and status. Even our smallest actions can either be complicit with the status quo and institutional racism or seen as an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless, strength to the weak, value to those seen as undesirable, and freedom for all! Please pass this motion with all the fervor it deserves on behalf of not only our local community but all of our nation’s students, families, and residents; whereby, fulfilling our mission to assure quality public education for every student, by providing a strong, positive voice for educators!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Approved Unanimously by Salem Keizer Education Association Representative Assembly January 25, 2017

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