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Police brutality is not a black problem, nor is it a white problem. It is a people problem, and due to our city’s status as one of America’s major urban hubs, it is a matter of utmost importance to public school educators. As the Black Lives Matter movement brings the issue to the fore, the Chicago Teachers Union stands in solidarity with the tens of thousands of people in Chicago and across the country who are protesting what many believe are immoral and unjust grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, New York. The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner represent fathers, brothers and sons, and as educators, either of them could have been a student in our classrooms.

Police aggression, militarization, profiling and a negative perception of low-income, disenfranchised communities are all components of a much greater problem. But above all, it is of utmost importance to understand that we must go beyond “black lives matter” in understanding that all lives matter, and how what we currently experiencing is an indictment our nation’s historic treatment of justice. As the past shows, recent uprisings are not new, but merely the latest incarnations of a broken and racist system. 

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