FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 18, 2018
CONTACT: Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343
AFT leaders respond to shooting at Santa Fe High School
Note: Texas AFT’s original advisory—that went out early today–on the Houston rally tomorrow is below. We will be mourning the victims of this tragic shooting at the rally. Included in an updated list of speakers are two Houston ISD students who were leaders in local walkouts demanding school safety.
Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“This year has brought some of the worst mass shootings in our recent memory, and gun violence is now young people’s greatest fear. That is shameful. No child, no parent and no educator should fear walking into their school.
“We are mourning the lives lost this morning at Santa Fe High School, and we are in contact with our members to offer support for them and their students in this moment. It is shameful that President Trump and those who control Congress continue to choose gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association over children and educators. We are determined to change those in office in November if lawmakers continue to refuse to change the laws and take on the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation.”
Statement of Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro:
“The shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, is a horrific and tragic addition to the growing list of school shootings across the nation in which students and teachers have been murdered. It is not enough for elected leaders to simply show up at the site of these catastrophes. Wiping up the blood isn’t enough! What is needed are concrete steps to stop the carnage. That is what is being demanded by students, mothers, fathers, families and educators. The time for mere words is over. Now is the time for action!
“Tomorrow, as thousands of educators and our allies gather in Houston for a rally demanding more support for public education, we will hear from student leaders who have led protests against school violence as well as from educators who have advocated for more funding for mental health services, counseling and support for struggling students to head off these kinds of tragic events. We are standing together to mourn those killed and injured today, but we must also unite to challenge our state leaders to make school safety and sensible gun legislation a priority.”
National teacher union president—Randi Weingarten–to rally with thousands of educators Saturday after her trips supporting teacher walkouts across the nation
Pre-Rally interviews available throughout the Houston area and state
What: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who has traveled to support every state with teacher walkouts and protests, will visit Houston Saturday to participate in the rally.
Thousands are expected at the event, which will be a first opportunity for Texas school employees to stand together and pledge to vote for candidates in November who will fight for more school funding for our kids, and for solutions to crippling health-care costs and substandard pay that are driving educators out of the field.
When: Saturday, May 19, Noon to 2 p.m.
Where: Discovery Green
1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010
Who: Educators, parents, and students from across the state, including members of Texans for Public Education, Texas AFT, Mike Collier (candidate for lieutenant governor) lawmakers and community leaders. (Speakers list and schedule attached.)
Those that can’t attend can sign a petition of support at https://www.texasaft.org/petition.
Pre-Rally interviews today are available with leaders in Houston, Aldine, Alief, Spring Branch, Cy-Fair, Northeast Houston, Fort Bend, and with union leaders across the state. Call Rob D’Amico at 512-627-1343 to schedule.
Speakers (in approximate order)
Louis Malfaro, President, Texas AFT
Lisa Dishongh, Teacher, Union Leader, Channelview ISD
Sybil Hunter, HISD Food Service Employee, HESP Union Leader
Troy Reynolds, Founder, Texans for Public Education
Students Zoe Nansen (Carnegie Vanguard High) & Sophie Cardenas (High School for the Performing Arts)
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
Scott Milder, Former Lt. Gov. Candidate, Co-Founder, Friends of Texas Public Schools
Mike Collier, Candidate for Texas Lt. Governor
John Ogletree, Cy-Fair ISD Board of Trustees
Charles Foster Johnson, Pastors for Texas Children
Lillian Morkazel, Houston ISD teacher
Zeph Capo, President Houston Federation of Teachers, HCC Board of Trustees
Juliet Stipeche, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Education Advisor
Donna Howard, State Representative
Ernest Bailes, State Representative
Jon Rosenthal, Candidate for State House District 135
Justin Nelson, Candidate for Attorney General
Texas American Federation of Teachers represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers.