Every student is entitled to be valued for the unique identities and experiences they bring to the learning environment, and every educator deserves to be supported in their profession. In educational settings, however, institutional racism and cultural marginalization caused by long standing practices of white supremacy have long created barriers and disparities for many of Oregon’s students and educators of color. As an organization at the forefront of public education and Oregon’s labor movement since 1858, the Oregon Education Association (OEA) has undeniably played a role in perpetuating systems that devalue, silence, or discriminate against Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized groups. Our union has, for too long, operated in a manner that elevates and normalizes white supremacy.
We are writing the next chapter of our story.
This work begins by looking deeply at our own experiences and preconceived notions around race and equity—how white supremacy and privilege shape our perspectives, attitudes and actions. We are committed to ending both our internal union racist practices, as well as the systematic racism that continues to perpetuate inequities in our educational institutions and communities where students, members, and staff live and work. We will champion members in both their individual and collective work to dismantle racism and bias in all forms. We will center our equity actions around the groups experiencing marginalization or oppression and will lead with BIPOC members in this work. Our commitment to equity and inclusion currently includes the following and continually expands:
- Advance, center and give power to the voices and experiences of members, students, staff, and communities of color that have been traditionally oppressed and invisible
- Ensure that our policies, procedures and practices are free from racism, discrimination, intolerance, and bias
- Organize and create programs that eliminate cultural and institutional barriers in our educational settings and workplaces
This is a journey. For some it will feel like we are moving too slowly and for others too quickly, but we are committed to moving forward. We are deeply committed to the belief that our attention to equity, inclusion, dismantling of white supremacy, racial and social justice will build conditions in which ALL students, OEA members, and OEA staff can thrive. Together, we must take responsibility and accountability for creating an equitable system for Oregon’s diverse students, educators, and communities.
The Oregon Education Association