Its long past time for action

It’s long past time for action


Once again, we must face an unspeakable tragedy in our country. A night of reverie and joy was turned into a tragedy of epic proportions right here in Florida. Whenever something like this happens – and it happens all too often – we shed tears, shake our heads and vow that we won’t let it happen again.

 

Except that we do let it happen again. Whether it’s partiers dancing the night away in a nightclub in Orlando, young students at a schoolhouse in Connecticut, students and faculty at a university in Virginia, people gathering to pray in a church in Charleston, S.C., the violence and hatred seem to continue without any lessons learned, without any meaningful action to affect change.

 

When each of these tragedies takes place, we all hope that our elected officials will do their darned jobs and work to put an end to what fuels these tragedies – a culture of hate toward those who are different than us and a culture that allows just about anybody access to as many weapons as they can amass. Instead, our political culture enflames the culture of hate for political gain and encourages all of us to become more and more armed. Every political leader expresses remorse for the tragedy, but most of them also say that this isn’t the time to talk about solutions.

 

Well, yes it is. It’s long past time for that. Must each of us personally lose someone before we decide to take action? This past weekend, FEA members lost friends and loved ones in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. How many more senseless deaths must we endure before we start to demand solutions?

 

Listen to the reaction to this weekend’s catastrophe: Some blamed the LGBTQ community and implied they deserved their fate. Others pointed to the gunman’s name and launched a broadside attack against all Muslims. But few will summon the political leadership to fix our laws to make it more difficult for people to commit these horrendous crimes. Few will look inward and see that attacking people who are different from you for political gain ends up creating a culture where unstable individuals think they can act out violently against their fellow citizens.

 

Our hearts go out to the victims of another senseless mass shooting. We send our prayers to the victims, their families and friends and to the entire community of Orlando. We pray for an end to these all-too-familiar acts of violence. As educators, we know that violence has no place in our society.

 

As members of this society, we must act to make the changes that our political leaders seem strangely reticent to undertake. And if they won’t do it, let’s get political leaders who will. We must stop the hate, stop the violence and stop accepting politicians who fuel those actions. 

 

Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.


Joanne McCall

President, Florida Education Association


For more information on how to support those affected by the tragedy in Orlando, you can visit one of the following links:

AFT - https://sharemylesson.com/orlando

NEA - http://www.nea.org/orlando

Equality Florida - https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund


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