PAT Action in Response to Gun Violence

PAT is dedicated to creating spaces for community connection and collective action. Please see messages below from two of our committees in response to recent events in Uvalde, TX.

Message from Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee

Message from Legislative Committee

Take care,

Portland Association of Teachers


A Message from PAT’s Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee

Tonight's Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee meeting will begin by holding space for educators to be in solidarity with one other. We will offer breakout rooms for educators to shoulder together how to process this as educators, how to be there for our students, as well as a space for meditation. There will also be time to discuss and plan concrete actions in response to this pandemic of violence against children in schools. Join the Zoom Meeting by clicking this link (Meeting ID: 832 3170 2046, Passcode: 82682).

It's hard to look beyond the horrifying news that continues to pour out of Uvalde, Texas. Next month is LGBTQIA+ Pride month and Disability Pride month. Our students whose identities intersect with LGBTQIA+ and/or disability are some of our most vulnerable, and so subcommittees will meet tonight as well, although it may be shorter than planned.

Wherever you find yourself this afternoon and evening from 4:30-5:30, we at SJCO stand with you in solidarity, hope, and action.


PAT Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee

Co-Chairs Alisha Chavez (she/her/ella) and Julie Whitaker (she/her)


A Message from PAT’s Legislative Committee

Dear Educators,

Our hearts are broken but we are out of tears. Our blood is boiling but we are exhausted.

When we chose to become educators, we committed to educating and serving our students and their communities. However, no course or professional development prepared us to respond to the constant onslaught of violence in this country.

There will be many calls to action, many letters to sign onto, many marches to attend, and it can be hard to decide which path to take. We want to tell you that whatever path you choose, know that your story, your lived experience in the classroom right now is important. SHARING our stories is also important. Our perspectives put students at the center; They remind policy makers that an injury to one is an injury to all, and illustrate that we have ALL had enough.

As the PAT Legislative Committee, it is our charge to communicate with local, state, and federal lawmakers, and at this time we want to uplift your voices and our students' voices. During non-contract hours, please share your stories, quotes, and reflections with us and we will pass them on to lawmakers at every level of government. 

The message we want to share is simple: Our stories matter. Our students’ lives matter. It is past time for our elected leaders to enact common sense gun laws.

When sending written comments and quotes, please redact any personal information and ensure no student identifiable information is shared (sharing grade level and age is okay). Please fill out this Google Form to share your stories. We hope to have enough by Saturday, May 28th, but if you can't send by then, send anyway. Comments and quotes may be edited to ensure student anonymity. Please let us know if you want to share your name and contact information, or if you prefer to share anonymously. Below are a few examples we have already received for reference.


Student Quotes: 

“I’m scared, I don’t want to sit by the windows anymore.” - 7 year old, raised hand, unprompted, 5/25/22. 

Educator Story/Letter : 

To Whom It May Concern, 

Today, after not sleeping much last night, I put on my body armor (a denim dress), and prepared myself for all the questions I would answer today. How would I tell the families of the 6 & 7 year olds in my care that I will support them through this emotional rollercoaster? Many of whom didn’t have children 10 years ago, when the children of Sandy Hook were murdered. But I was an educator then, so I am now prepared for this. A parent asks me, “What do I say to my children?- I share the resources. A family asks me, “Is our school safe?- I share the protocols & my Stop the Bleed, military tourniquet training.  A caregiver asks me, “Should I keep my child home today?”- I offer advice. Teaching in this country has forced me to prepare for this, but it doesn't matter - the children still cry, the families are still scared, I am still preparing to put myself in front of a bullet for my students, while I pretend I am teaching math. I do not have answers, I do not have solutions, It should not be my responsibility. My job is to teach, my job is to create joyful learning experiences for our youngest and most vulnerable students. Of course I will protect them. But it is the job of policy makers to keep guns out of schools. Do your job, so I can do mine. 

  • Anonymous teacher of 1st grade students (6 and 7 year olds), PPS

Thank you for helping us to share stories with lawmakers. As Ida B. Wells-Barnett once said, “The way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth on them”. It is time to share our truths.

In Solidarity, 

PAT Legislative Committee and PAT Leadership

Ami Fox, Chair 

Joanne Shepard

Jacob Jonas-Closs

Greg Burrill

Tina Lamanna

Erika Schneider

Vincent Chirimwami

Elizabeth Thiel

Gwen Sullivan

Angela Bonilla

Jacque Dixon

Portland Association of Teachers