NFT 2021 ELECTION RESULTS ARE IN..................
September 22, 2021
We would like to notify you of last night’s election results. We would first like to thank everyone who participated in the election. This includes the election committee, everyone who ran for office, and everyone who took the time to come out and cast a vote. We especially want to thank Marcia Elsbery for serving as Election Chairperson throughout the entire process. The committee, under her leadership, got many compliments for how professionally the election was set up and carried out. Thanks again to all of you and congratulations to all of our winners!!!
NFT ELECTION WINNERS:
Executive Vice President------Laquetta Mackey
VP of Elementary Schools------Rickita Robinson
VP of Middle Schools------Demetria Walker-Smith
VP of High School-------Demetrice Reed
VP of At-Large (1) ----------Toni Johnson
VP of At-Large (2)-----Joleen Flota
VP of Communication------Patricia Reuben
VP of Paraprofessionals------Donnetta Russell
Sept. 11, 2001, was primary day, and I was in Brooklyn getting out the vote when the sound of an explosion stopped me and my colleagues in our tracks. We were dumbstruck, and by the time the second plane hit the second tower, we knew that the world had suddenly changed forever.
It has been 20 years since that horrific day. As a nation, we witnessed the loss of thousands of people at the World Trade Center in New York, at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and in the passenger-diverted flight that crashed near Shanksville, Pa. As a union, dozens of our members died in the terrorist attacks, including 34 New York State Public Employees Federation members, whose offices were at the World Trade Center; six members of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, who were at the World Trade Center; and three members of the Washington Teachers’ Union, who were on the flight that struck the Pentagon.
Our members lost husbands, wives, children, friends and colleagues. In total, 2,996 people died that day; more than 6,000 more were injured, including many first responders. Public employees sent to help developed cancer after breathing the toxic fumes at ground zero. And members of the military who were sent to Afghanistan, Iraq and other faraway places were killed or injured in battles intended to wipe out terrorism.
The loss and damage seem endless. I don’t know a single person who lives or works in New York City, at or near the Pentagon or in Shanksville who was not affected by that day’s events or the aftermath.
Something I remember: For the few weeks following that day in September, New Yorkers had a softness for each other and a spirit about the future that I wish could have been bottled. It is so needed now, in this age of polarization and division.
Twenty years have passed, and yet most of us remember where we were that morning. Even at Brooklyn Borough Hall we could hear the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. We did not yet know what was happening, but my colleagues from the United Federation of Teachers and I walked over to the promenade and watched as smoke filled the cloudless sky. We had barely processed the sight of the tower on fire before we watched the second plane crash into the south tower. In the crowd that had gathered there was a collective gasp, a few screams and then a deafening and horrified silence.
At that time, I was president of the UFT and the head of New York City’s municipal labor committee, an umbrella group of all the unions that represent the city’s public employees, from parks to police, educators to firefighters and EMTs. The UFT represents virtually all the educators in New York City, a city whose school system has more than 1,500 schools — including those in lower Manhattan, where teachers, students and staff could see the horror unfolding from their classroom windows. Downtown educators sprang into action, leading their students of all ages to safety: Some physically carried their young or disabled students; one high school teacher, seeing an approaching cloud of smoke, glass and debris as he watched the south tower collapse, instructed his students to run as fast as they could to Battery Park. None of them had been trained in what to do during a terrorist attack. Yet the city’s educators — whether they were in lower Manhattan or farther away — were brave and heroic, demonstrating incredible professionalism, poise, ingenuity and empathy in the face of danger, uncertainty, chaos and fear.
Educators are now teaching that moment in history and its implications to a generation of students who were not even born when it happened. The events of that day and those that followed are difficult to teach. As a social studies teacher, I know too well that history can be uncomfortable. But I also know that students who learn the truth become a generation of well-informed members of society.
So, 20 years later, we look back on that day as one of both terrible loss and amazing acts of bravery. Anyone who has flown on an airplane since 2001 knows that 9/11 changed air travel policies in the decades since. That day changed the arcs of the lives of countless families, and entire nations, for generations. And it triggered prejudice that is ongoing today: We’ve seen a steep rise in violence against our Muslim American, Arab American and South Asian American neighbors. Even today, the violence against those groups is five times higher than it was before 9/11.
In my letter to UFT members in September 2001 after the attacks, I asked them as educators and leaders to guard against expressions of prejudice in all its forms and to teach others to shun intolerance. As neighbors, we must understand the results of unbridled hatred. In this moment of many challenges, including the climate and COVID-19 crises, let us take this opportunity to remind our students, our friends and our neighbors that there is more that unites us than divides us. We all yearn for peace, for security, for justice and for the American dream. We must remember the principle of treating everyone as we would want to be treated — with respect and dignity.
As painful as it is, we must never forget that day and everything it precipitated. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 caused the United States to begin a so-called war on terror. And after 20 years, countless military and civilian deaths, new policies, laws that limit civil liberties and nearly $7 trillion, I think we are right to question if all those ends justify the means. While I know the intentions were noble, we still live in a world where terrorism exists.
We must remember those who are no longer with us. We honor the bravery in the selfless acts of that day and the compassion I saw in my city in the weeks thereafter. And we honor the bravery of those who served in Afghanistan for these 20 years since, and of our armed forces and frontline workers whose job is always to help when there is danger.
We must never forget the ways we came together, unified at a time when there was so much fear and uncertainty. As we continue to fight a pandemic, and as we move forward just months after an attack on the Capitol by domestic terrorists, this is a moment to remember we can come together regardless of differing ideology, demography or geography. And if we do, we will strengthen our democracy, strengthen our communities and strengthen ourselves.
Today we remember those we have loved and lost, and honor those whose acts of bravery and kindness restore our souls. And tomorrow we fight for a more perfect union.
Working people and their advocates are breathing a collective sigh of relief after the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan March 6. Once signed into law, this powerful piece of legislation will provide much-needed assistance to accelerate COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs and to get money to families struggling with job loss, food insecurity, the threat of homelessness and other challenges related to the pandemic. Funds could start flowing as early as next week.
The bill is expected to cut child poverty in half, extend a lifeline to unemployed people, help families pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads, help states and local communities maintain public safety services, save jobs, and safely reopen schools.
“This plan is quite literally a lifeline for an economy that desperately needs one,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have lost more than half a million jobs in public education and more than 100,000 jobs in healthcare. This is what government looks like when it takes swift action to care for us all.”
The relief built into the American Rescue Plan is on its way because of hardworking advocates like union members and their coalition partners, who relentlessly called legislators, wrote petitions and led campaigns to articulate the need and provide help to the American people. The AFT was a leader in this massive movement that included other unions, education advocates, parents, champions of racial and socioeconomic equity, and so many others working to provide basic support to working families, schoolchildren and the communities where AFT members live and work.
The effort was an extension of an unprecedented election season that shifted the balance of the Senate toward Democrats, who consistently vote for working people. In fact, the American Rescue Plan is proof that elections matter: The bill passed 50-49 without one Republican vote in favor.
AFT members and leaders knew this sort of shift was possible. That’s why they spent countless hours with a coalition of others calling voters, writing letters to the editor, and holding news conferences, events and rallies—distanced and virtual—to elect legislators who vote to support working people, who never forget under-resourced communities, and who prioritize public education, public services and the public good.
And now it has paid off.
“One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, families, communities, cities and towns are still reeling from one of the greatest crises our country has ever faced,” says Weingarten. “Schools are attempting to reopen with new safety precautions; businesses are fighting to stay afloat with adjustments to our new normal; families are still struggling with rent and groceries—all while we are working to get as many vaccine shots in arms as quickly as humanly possible.
“Across this country, as we rebuild and recover, people need support. This bill puts resources directly into our cities and towns so the critical services that have carried us through this pandemic can continue to operate and the American people can get back on a path toward recovery. This relief package will ensure that families—no matter our color, background or ZIP code—have the vaccines, wages and financial support we need to pull through this pandemic together, and that school buildings have the resources they need to reopen for in-person learning safely and equitably.”
Among the measures in the bill are the following:
Before the bill is final, the House of Representatives must pass the Senate version of the bill, after which it would go to the president for his signature.
[AFT Communications staff]