Rochester teachers and their union stand in solidarity with all who are demanding that racial justice finally become a reality. The tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd is just the most recent injustice in the long history of egregious assaults on people of color in our country. Four centuries of racism, injustice, discrimination and unequal treatment in our country must finally end. We acknowledge the grief and trauma that our members, our students and our communities feel. We join Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small in her heartfelt and sincere message calling for empathy and mutual support. As you’ve already been notified by the District, Zoom sessions (Meeting ID: 764 778 7796; Password: 5YGt7W) are taking place every day this week (Monday through Friday, from 2pm to 3:30pm) to offer all RCSD staff an opportunity to connect and process thoughts and feelings during this difficult time in our District, in our city and in our nation. 

Many years ago, with my six brothers and parents who never had a chance to even finish elementary school, we escaped oppression and persecution in communist Poland to seek refuge in a country that promised opportunities, liberty and justice for all. Four years, a dozen countries and several languages later, we found our way to our new homeland. Today, millions of people who have been here for many generations, remain excluded strangers in their own land, still denied the liberty and justice they deserve. We must all join in the struggle to change that. As Dr. Martin Luther King observed, “Justice is indivisible: injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As teachers, we have a special responsibility and a special opportunity to learn, to change and to support our students in this time of crisis. We thank all of you who have already reached out, and continue to reach out, to your students, to their families, and to each other. We must work tirelessly towards a better and a more just society for all our children. Together.

Adam Urbanski, RTA President