Human and Civil Rights
Advocacy in Action
NEA Human and Civil Rights understands that education advocacy and social justice advocacy go hand in hand, and that an increasingly diverse kaleidoscope of students and educators must feel welcome in our public schools.
Students' Lives Matter
Young people—our students—are marching in the streets and making noise on social media. They are standing up for Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown. They are standing up for themselves and, in the process, sowing the seeds of a new civil rights movement. When the Staten Island grand jury declined to indict in the tragic death of an another unarmed Black male, many students came the next day to our classrooms seeking answers and reassurance. As we help our students grapple with complex issues of race, opportunity, and justice, educators are continuing the dialogue:
Go here for lesson plans or resources to help you discuss racial profiling in an informed and honest way
Access the Diversity Toolkit for tools to help you teach and support diverse students.
Download the Restorative Practices Guide for strategies that help stem the disproportionate impact school discipline practices have on students of color.
We also want to learn from you. Share experiences from your classroom and community together with resources and actions that are advancing the dialogue and the movement.
Rising to The Challenge of the Ferguson Decision
The decision not to charge a police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen has reverberated through the nation, sparking a national debate about justice and civil rights. This is a troubling and confusing time for our students, and educators will do what they always do in a crisis: step up and put the needs of their students first. They’ll provide students with a safe place to talk about America’s founding values of equality and justice for all. They’ll remind them that America is a work in progress and that one day they will have an opportunity to make ours a more perfect union. Above all, they’ll nurture hope. Good people working together can bend the arc of history toward justice—Dr. King was right. The next generation of Americans can take on racial divisions and bury them deep in our native ground.
- In times of tragedy and uncertainty, schools serve as a place of normalcy for students. In response to the specific needs of educators for resources around the Ferguson shooting, NEA has developed materials to assist educators, parents, and the community as we continue our collective fight for social justice for all.
Immigration Reform One Step Closer
Educators are encouraged that millions of students and their families will be able to step out of the shadows and participate more fully in the lives of their schools and communities. President Obama’s recent announcement that he will take executive action to keep families together has given new energy to the immigration reform movement and new hope to aspiring Americans.
- Learn more about President Obama's recent announcement and watch a video message from NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
- Teacher Joni Watson shares what the announcement means for her students.