For the first time in its more than 160-year history, the National Education Association (NEA) will host a virtual Representative Assembly, a necessary and prudent safeguard for its delegates during a global pandemic.
“NEA’s Board of Directors has decided to convert the 2020 NEA RA into a virtual meeting, which is our safest option,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We cannot take the risk of educators becoming infected and spreading the virus to students, their families and colleagues, or their communities. We look forward to the 2021 RA, where we can hopefully once again come together to set policy and chart the direction of NEA business.”
Nearly 8,000 educator delegates from every state will come together virtually during NEA’s 99th Representative Assembly (RA) on July 2-3, 2020, with a streamlined agenda, packed with major speakers who will address the many crises public education faces during one of the most trying times in our history.
2020 Human and Civil Rights Awards
Kicking off this year’s RA will be the first-ever virtual 2020 NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards: We Rise Together on Wednesday, July 1, at 8 p.m. ET. Stacey Abrams and the Philando Castile Relief Foundation are among the distinguished honorees. To complement its first-ever virtual ceremony, NEA unveiled a new, permanent website that is home to all of the content related to the HCR Awards: bios of recipients, acceptance videos of honorees, keynotes, and other information at neahcrawards.org.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García Farewell Keynote July 2
The 2020 RA will also be the last for Lily Eskelsen García as president. In her keynote address on July 2, she will speak about her six years at the helm of the 3-million member NEA and about the organization’s work for equity and racial justice that reached a pinnacle this year in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and national protests. “This is education work. This is union work. This is justice work. This is our work,” she says.
Also speaking on July 2 will be voting rights activist, author, Georgia House Minority Leader, and winner of NEA’s 2020 Presidential Award, Stacey Abrams.
The last agenda item for the day will be delegate debate on the 2020-2022 NEA Strategic Plan and Budget.
Conversation with Vice President Joe Biden July 3
On the second day of the RA, Friday July 3, Presidential candidate Joe Biden will take part in a live, virtual townhall conversation with NEA members. He will address the delegates and answer questions from educators and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
In March, NEA recommended Joe Biden in the Democratic Primary. Vice President Biden has been a champion for public education throughout this campaign and his career. Educators know that as President, Biden will boost opportunities for America’s students, build an economy that works for all Americans, work to dismantle systemic racism, and strengthen the voice of working Americans.
Other highlights of the RA on July 3 will include remarks from NEA Executive Director Kim Anderson, an address from Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 Teacher of the Year, Andrea Beeman, 2020 Education Support Professional of the Year, and Elizabeth Davenport, 2020 Higher Educator of the Year.
The 2020 Friend of Education will be presented to climate activist Greta Thunberg on July 3 for her work in engaging American students and young people worldwide in the fight to protect the planet and create a sustainable future.
Because of the virtual setting, all votes related to business before the RA will be conducted by mail to ensure equity in participation and the security and integrity of the democratic process. Voting results will be made available later in the summer when all votes have been counted.
For more information on NEA’s RA, visit nea.org/ra.