George Floyd

Educators Demand Change and Racial Equality

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Educators from across Hartford gathered Thursday to raise their voices against injustice and fight for the students they teach.

The educators who gathered a the Capitol Thursday said this moment of civil unrest represents a tipping point in America, especially on the issues of race, equality and education.

"I’m an educator. I teach black children. I can't remain silent. Black lives matter," Jennifer Smagin-Gorden, a counselor at Hartford Public Schools said.

Teachers from all over the Capital City gathered to protest and demand equality for the black and brown students they teach.

"We are here because we say we matter. Our children matter. And you know what, you can not put a dollar sign on the value of a human life. We all need to speak up," said Monica Satchell, a kindergarten teacher at WISH.

The demonstration in Hartford coincided with the memorial for George Floyd in Minneapolis. In addition to an end to racism and police brutality, these teachers are calling for equity and access in education.

"The whole incident with George Floyd is the catalyst for this uprising. This is something that has been brewing for a long time," Satchell said.

"We need to make sure that every child is getting a quality education," Yvonne Coachman-Francis, a fourth grade teacher at WISH, said.

The educators paused in silence for the more than eight minutes that Floyd was held down by Minneapolis police officers before he died.

They marched through the streets calling for change, worried about the future that awaits their students when they leave their classrooms.

"The systematic racism, we have to dismantle it. This is not something that happens overnight. This is hard work, We have to come together and do it together," Misty Holke, a first grade teacher at Parkville Community School, told NBC Connecticut.

"They might be envisioning that when they grow up they’re going to face the same type of situation of George Floyd," Ralph Minaya, a math teacher at Weaver High School, said.

"I want them to take away Black Lives Matter. And like that little boy said he was raised right and because of the color of his skin, he shouldn’t be considered a threat," Smagin-Gorden said.

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