Attacks won’t deter educators from the fight for Black Lives

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Educators for BLM

We wish to respond to recent attacks made against UTLA as well as UTLA Vice President Julie Van Winkle.

Van Winkle is a respected and dedicated UTLA officer who was elected in a citywide vote by our members. As previously stated, she regrets the distraction caused by her personal Instagram post, which was removed from all accounts within hours of posting, and days before the LA School Police union issued  their press statement.

But this is not about an individual. The attacks are not because of the T-shirt she wore but because of UTLA’s official position to defund school police in order to reinvest in programs and services that support Black students in our schools.

Some people disagree with this policy, and others - especially those in the school police union - are using this opportunity to discredit our movement. We will not be deterred nor intimidated.

Calling for the decriminalization of our youth and for police-free schools is not about individual police officers, this is about a system that is overpolicing our Black and brown students rather than providing the socio-emotional and academic supports that are really needed.

These attacks against UTLA distract from the real work we have to do to support Black Lives. But we will not relent.

We will also continue to raise awareness around the killing and attempted killing of unarmed Black people in this country - most recently of Jacob Blake who was shot 7 times in the back as his 3 children watched - and we will continually say Black Lives Matter.