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Our diversity is what makes America great

Leaders in positions to know, do better have failed to counter white nationalist rhetoric

WASHINGTON - August 19, 2017 -

Billed as a ‘free speech’ rally in Boston, thousands of counter-protesters crammed Boston Common and marched through city streets today, causing the planned rally to end early.

The following statement was issued on behalf of NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“As teachers and educators, we know our history. Too many leaders in positions to know and do better have failed to counter white nationalist rhetoric. Their reluctance to confront directly and call out racism at every turn has contributed to the tragedy that unfolded last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia and this morning’s controversial rally in Boston and other protests happening around the country. The past serves as prologue for the future, and hateful rhetoric has defined Donald Trump since he launched his bid for the White House.

“Even though members of the Trump administration have now condemned ‘racist bigots,’ their words ring hollow as they advance the agenda of a president who too often provides a platform for white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the alt-right, all while eliminating civil rights protections and robbing opportunity from children of color.

“Educators are deeply committed to creating classrooms and schools that are safe and welcoming places for all students to feel comfortable and accepted. The National Education Association has highlighted important questions and helpful tips for engaging with others on the tough conversation of institutional racism. We believe America is a country where all students have the right to a public education that helps them reach their full potential.”

Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA

Find out more about how you can combat institutional racism at

Keep up with the conversation on social media at #wearethemajority

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 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

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications  202-270-5333 cell,