President's Message

The Upland Teachers Association is a group of education professionals. We are teachers,

counselors, nurses, psychologists, and other specialists who come together for the purpose of

educating students, and helping them realize their potential. This is our calling. This is our heart.

 

Recent events have once again exposed the harsh reality that America has not lived up to its

promise of being a land of opportunity where all men and women are treated equally.

 

A pandemic rages across our country. The disruption in our lives and the economy has

exposed the weaknesses in our social safety net. Because of institutional racism in sectors

such as education, health care and the workforce, communities of color have suffered the

greatest losses.

 

A black man already in police custody died at the hand of a police officer with a history of

documented misconduct. Because of institutional racism in our criminal justice system, we are

once again witness to the tragedy of black men and women senselessly killed.

 

We cannot and will not abide by this intolerable situation in which some lives do not seem to

matter. As an Association, we condemn both the effects of systemic racism on people’s health

and economic welfare, as well as the racist acts of individuals and/or groups.

 

Contemplating these recent events compels us to action. As educators, our contribution toward

a solution must come through teaching and learning. We believe that bringing about real and

lasting change entails making a number of commitments.

 

We commit to listening to our colleagues and students of color, valuing their experiences and

being a source of support when they point out discriminatory obstacles and mechanisms of

oppression within our schools.

 

We commit to reflecting deeply on our own perceptions while working to free ourselves of

prejudice and bias in our personal and professional lives.

 

We commit to educating ourselves, educating our students and educating our community about

the structure and causes of systemic racism.

 

We commit to examining our policies and our practices so that we may better address the

challenges too many of our students must overcome to succeed.

 

We commit to having courageous and restorative conversations with our colleagues and our

community about how our schools have fallen short in addressing inequalities in the past and

how we can do better in the future.

 

We commit to both advocating for our students, and actively working to change the educational

systems that all too often perpetuate oppression when they should be providing opportunity.

 

We don’t know how it will look in the end, but we do know that there must be change. The

systemic racism that plagues our society undermines our core democratic principles. Our

hearts and our minds are telling us that this work needs to be done.

 

The time to act is now.

 

In Solidarity,

Gregory Lander

© 2020 UTA