Washington—NEA President Becky Pringle issued the following statement about the jury verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse for the shooting of three people, killing two and injuring a third person, in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020. The jury found Rittenhouse not guilty of the five charges for which he was on trial.
“Most of us—regardless of our race, place or language we speak—want to live without fearing for our lives or those of our loved ones. Today, however, a jury failed to hold Kyle Rittenhouse accountable for his deadly actions, threatening the safety of all of us.
“In the wake of this verdict, the residents of Kenosha – and communities across the country – are reliving the trauma caused by the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a police officer in the summer of 2020. The Black Lives Matter protests that defined that summer called for accountability and justice through organizing and united so many of us to ensure all communities can realize the promise of our nation’s founding ideals—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“But when a 17-year old is able to come into another community brandishing a semi-automatic weapon inciting confrontation and killing two people, justice has not been served. We must be able to safely walk down our streets, exercise our right to peacefully protest and be treated equally under the law.
“Today, we are coming together to demand that liberty and justice be for all and that our elected officials and public servants respect the rights and lives of people who for far too long have been denied that respect.
“We know that a better future is possible. We know what keeps us safe – the resources needed to create great, safe public schools, services and care we all want and deserve. We will continue our activism to demand justice and accountability for all. Together, we will make America a place where our rights are respected and where every one of us can live full and healthy lives, no exceptions.”
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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. Learn more at www.nea.org.