PAT Statement Concerning the Murder of George Floyd

June 1, 2020

As the Portland Association of Teachers, we believe Black Lives Matter. We stand with all Black educators, all Black families, all Black students, and all Black communities against injustice.

Our hearts are broken. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. The needless and brutal killing of Black people in this country is a crime against humanity. This type of brutality has existed since the founding of this country, and it is abhorrent and unacceptable. 

We must do everything in our power as educators to address the insidiousness of racism and white supremacy. As the President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement released on May 27th, 2020, “This is no time for us to look away. Police violence against Black people happens too often. The threat and real violence toward Black people daring to exist in public spaces and even in their own homes is the direct result of how white supremacy culture is the air we breathe in America.”

It is our duty, our responsibility, to honor and uplift the lives of Black people, to nurture the young people we are entrusted with educating, to teach the truth about the injustices that run like a river through our country's history. As a predominantly white group of educators, we must do better. We must be braver. We must be committed to being actively anti-racist and we must hold each other accountable to that never-ending, ongoing work.

PAT stands in solidarity with all those in Minneapolis and across America’s cities who demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all of the other Black lives that have been taken due to racist violence. 

As educators, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to take action with our own practice. Here are recommendations from NEA: 5 ways to address bias in your school.

With our students, we must teach the truth about the injustices in our society. Here are some anti-racism resources for teachers:

Teaching for Black Lives

NEA: Black Live Matter at School Resources 

AFT: Teaching about Race and Racism

If you are able to give financially, here are some opportunities to lend support:

George Floyd Family's GoFundMe 

PDX Bail Fund


ACLU Oregon