President's Message: Building a More Just Future

Dear Educators,

This fall, we find ourselves in an ongoing state of disruption and uncertainty, and educators continue to go above and beyond to support our students.

Of course, educators are not alone grappling with the stress of this pandemic. We’ve all witnessed the terrible toll of COVID-19, especially for those most impacted- essential workers, those who have lost jobs, those without housing or enough to eat, those bearing the brunt of systemic racism, and everyone who has lost loved ones to the virus.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on the injustice and inequality permeating our society, and we need to do more than simply survive.

We must ensure Oregon emerges from this pandemic stronger.

This November, we have the opportunity to build toward our vision of a more just world, and this election, particularly the presidential race, is critical. I hope you’re doing everything you can to encourage your friends, family, and acquaintances to fill out their ballots and get them turned in.

But with all the national attention, and national significance, of November 3, please don’t ignore the state and local races, as well as a number of breakthrough ballot measures. There is so much opportunity on the Portland ballot to build toward a more just future.

We have the chance to provide essential supports for our students and their families, including providing Preschool for All, and the restoration of programming through our city Parks.

We have the chance to build much needed infrastructure. The PPS bond will ensure planned building renewals move forward, and will also create new partnerships through the Center for Black Student Excellence. We have the chance to invest in our county library system, including investing in the North Portland and Albina libraries, and a new flagship library in East Portland. And we can take a big step forward for public transportation, pedestrian safety, and accessibility through the Metro bond—including making busy roads like 82nd Avenue safe for students- and putting many more buses, bike paths, and sidewalks into service across the city.

These services and infrastructure do cost money, but they also create living-wage jobs for thousands of workers in our community, strengthening our economy and helping jumpstart our recovery.

Finally, we have the chance to make long-needed policy changes to create more justice and transparency. The Real Police Accountability measure will finally create a fair and transparent process for reviewing police use-of-force incidents. And the Fair and Honest Elections measure will finally amend our Constitution to allow for campaign contribution limits, so that we can curb the outsized influence of corporations and the extremely wealthy in decision-making in our state.

Look for your ballot in the mail by the end of the week!

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel
PAT President