This may be the most important election of our lives. In the last six months we have seen an unprecedented uprising demanding racial justice, and the unprecedented participation of YOUTH this election season. Both of these give me great hope.
As we approach November 3rd, we can envision our country making a decisive shift toward racial justice, climate justice, and a sustainable and humane economy.
At the same time, this pandemic reminds us how quickly we can lose the things we take for granted. Anxiety is high as we near election day, and there is a strong possibility we may have to wait for days or even weeks for ballots to be counted and for the election results to be confirmed.
As educators, we have a crucial role to play in helping our students make sense of current events, and to understand their role-- now and in the future-- in shaping our society. We don’t know what the morning of November 4th will look like, but we know our classrooms need to be a place for students to process their emotions, ask questions, and feel the support of their community.
Thank you for being a trusted adult for your students in this uncertain time.
I also urge you to take care of yourself, and to support your colleagues who are especially impacted during this time of compounding stress. As a union we have fought to have leave time available when we are unwell— it remains available to you during distance learning. Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health.
As we approach election day, there are a few other things you can do towards ensuring a positive outcome. First and foremost, VOTE. Make sure your ballot is in the mail no later than October 27th; otherwise, drop it in an Official Ballot Drop site before 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd.
Next, join one of NEA’s National Get Out the Vote Friendbanks happening every evening between now and election day. Come to a Friendbank to multiply our power by encouraging your friends across the country to make a vote plan, VOTE, and talk with their people about the importance of voting this election.
No matter what happens on November 3rd, I know you will continue to show up and stand up for your students. And our union will continue to fight for you, and to make sure all our students have the schools they deserve.