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Now is the Time (whether you want it to be, or not)

June 8, 2020 pm30 7:00 pm

I attended a NYSUT virtual vigil just now. It was mostly local presidents. The overall thrust was for reform and electing better people, but especially as some hearkened back to the civil rights movement, or to their own personal experiences, there was a current of long-term struggle as well.

Interesting, for me, was Michael Mulgrew, who was brief and sharp – the speech was prepared, and well-prepared. This is not the rambling Mulgrew we see (or hear) at the Delegate Assembly. His opening (and check this out, I’m quoting Mulgrew approvingly) “There is an original sin that stains the soul of our country.” The message was not revolutionary, but a revolutionary message might have started similarly.

More interesting, the comments. Most echoed the speakers, highlighted important points. At first. But then the issue of the police came up. And dominated the comments for a huge chunk of the vigil.

NYSUT did not organize the event to discuss police. But the role of the police, the future of the police, that is what we – and by “we” I mean everyone who is trying to make change – that is what we are talking about.

There are people who want to talk about getting rid of Trump. But today the primary conversation is about police. Reform the police. Defund police. Disband police. Or in reaction, cherish them, value them, protect them – that’s the other side.

In the biggest NYC Teacher Facebook group discussion of police has been hot. Everywhere it seems, Black Lives Matter, and Police. And there is no resolution of the one without resolution of the other. Even if not everyone wants that conversation to happen. Even if some people want to keep the movement away from the hard questions.

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