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NEA President reacts to fatal police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana

Lily Eskelsen García: Senseless and tragic shootings shock nation’s conscience

WASHINGTON - July 07, 2016 -

Minnesota police last night fatally shot 32-year-old Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in St. Paul. The prior day, in Louisiana, police shot to death Alton Sterling. Both shootings were gruesomely captured on video. Educators learned about the shootings as more than 7,000 educators from across the country—including hundreds from Minnesota and Louisiana—are attending the NEA’s Representative Assembly (RA) in Washington, D.C.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“Black lives matter. Today we mourn for the lost lives of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Their senseless and tragic deaths have shocked the conscience of our nation. We are working with our state affiliates in Louisiana and Minnesota to offer support to the families and communities affected by this tragedy.

“For the sake of our children, our communities, and future generations to come, we must sharpen our resolve to end this vicious cycle of racial violence. We must stand united in defense of racial and social justice, and work to end intolerance in our society. This action must happen in our schools, communities, among our parents, educators, and with our youth.

“Our students will immediately feel the emotional impact of the police shootings of Sterling and Castile. They’ve seen the horrific videos on social media. Their trust in law-and-order institutions is broken. Feeling frightened and confused, they will ask questions. Powerless about what they see and read, they will turn to adults to seek answers. As educators, it is our responsibility to our students and our communities to stand up and speak up when confronted with injustice and institutional racism wherever we see it.

“At the same time, we also need to make sure that those who perpetrated the fatal shootings of these men are held accountable. We applaud the U.S. Department of Justice for agreeing to look into the police killing of Sterling. We urge the department to also look into the police shooting of Castile. There cannot be a path to peace unless justice is served.”

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The National Education Association ( is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez

Lily Eskelsen Garcia on Good Morning Washington, WNC8 (NEWS8) School safety is the topic of the hour as NEA President provides insight on how students, classrooms, and communities are affected by tragedies light of the recent shooting tragedies in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Minn., and Dallas.