Skip to Content

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García addresses DNC convention

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

PHILADELPHIA - July 25, 2016 -

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, who leads the nation’s largest union with 3 million members, addressed the DNC convention in Philadelphia tonight. Eskelsen García began her career in education as a school lunch lady, but she was encouraged to go to college and become a teacher. Just nine years after entering the classroom, Eskelsen García was named the 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year and is the first-ever Latina elected to lead the National Education Association. She is the highest-ranking Latina in the labor movement and one of the country’s most influential Hispanic educators.

The following are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Muy buenas tardes, compañeros.

“What an honor to be here representing the nearly three million educators of the National Education Association.

“My story isn’t so different from my students’ stories: My mom is an immigrant. My dad served in the Army. My parents worked hard so that their six kids could have a chance to get ahead. And they were so proud when I became a teacher.   

“But today, too many students in our classrooms feel like they won’t get the chance I got, especially those from immigrant families. They tell us they’re afraid that their parents might be taken away, that they might be deported for not having the right piece of paper.

“Hillary Clinton believes families should be together. She believes in our DREAMers. And she believes educators should be focused on education—not deportation.

“Donald Trump sees things…differently. My mom says that if you can’t say something nice about somebody, at least make it funny. But I can’t make this funny. Donald Trump sees immigrants as criminals, drug dealers, rapists. He’d round up families and deport them. He’d build a wall.

“We’re better than that. Our kids deserve better than that.

“Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to divide people with walls of hate. She wants to build bridges to a better future for all. That’s why America’s educators are with her!

“We will do everything in our power to build a bridge to a future where Hillary Clinton is our president!


Follow us on twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA 

Keep up with the conversation at #StrongPublicSchools

# # #

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at