NJEA President Marie Blistan joined Cape May County Indivisible’s counter-protest held during yesterday’s campaign rally for President Donald Trump at the Wildwood Convention Center. Speaking to hundreds of protestors outside the convention center, Blistan inspired the crowd and encouraged all in attendance to stand against racism, classism, bigotry and hate.

Martin Luther King III and Amy Kennedy, among others, joined Blistan for the counter protest rally. All speakers spoke of the importance of coming together during these politically divisive times. They urged all to fight against the mistreatment of all people and emphasized the importance that organizing will play during the upcoming election cycle.

President Trump hosted the campaign rally in Wildwood in large part to support the former long-time Democrat Jeff Van Drew (R-CD2), who is being challenged by Amy Kennedy, among others, in the upcoming election cycle.

NJEA President Marie Blistan’s Remarks:

“Good afternoon!

 My name is Marie Blistan and I am a PROUD NJ classroom teacher and I am equally as PROUD to serve as the president of the 200,000-member New Jersey Education Association representing members from preschool to community colleges and members who are aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, child study team members, librarians, maintenance, nurses, security, secretaries, tech, and teachers!

And because of the work these members do every day for our students, our New Jersey public schools are rated number one in the United States!

Yet, even here in NJ, our educators have been treated disrespectfully by some elected leaders and so anytime that there is an opportunity to stand up and model for our students what REALLY makes our country great, our union of educators will show that there is another way!

Thank you to our co-hosts – numerous organizations with whom we share the values that make this country great:  racial, social, economic, and environmental justice!

Our union, the NJEA, has joined with these groups in our commitment to those justices as it is the only way that our children will have a better tomorrow!

I am a teacher by trade, and so I will use today’s event as a ‘teachable moment’ – an opportunity for our students and children to see that standing against something requires what you stand for, as well. 

The irony of this event is not lost on any of us.  Certain political officials choosing Cape May, great Harriet Tubman’s home for a time, Harriet Tubman, a humanitarian, by ACTION and by word!

And the timing of this event, during JANUARY, when we celebrate the life and teachings of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a scholar and humanitarian by ACTION and by word.

THEY are two leaders that I want our students today to focus upon.  

I applaud the organizations here to protest the seeds of HATE and DISRESPECT that some political figures have been known to sow.

And I want to let our children know that THERE are other public officials and ordinary people who are leaders to make the world a better place-  like Harriet Tubman and Dr. King!

Because that is the reason that brings our members into our schools every day:  our children deserve a better world than what’s being offered to them right now!

A world where they see some people in elected office promoting hate, bigotry, sexism, classicism!

It is nothing less than a DISGRACE!

Our children deserve leaders they can look to for hope and inspiration.

Our union of educators is committed to teaching our students that our country is a place where ANY person or any CHILD can dream and can make their dreams a reality.

And it is PUBLIC Education that is the difference that marks our country from the rest!

Yet, the education policies of this president threaten quality public education even in our great state of New Jersey!

INEXCUSABLY, this president:

  • Supports private school vouchers so that the public schools serving 100% of our children will be economically starved so that private schools can serve the 1%!
  • Has made CUTS to Public Education through his handpicked choice of the Secretary of Education, who has never been in the classroom — Betsy DeVos!
  • Reduced Federal Aid for Pre-School Expansion denying access to a level playing field for all children!
  • Has threatened to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program crippling and prohibiting our youth from further education;
  • Wants to gut federal funding for public education – after passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut that benefited corporations and the ultra-wealthy, he had the gall to request more than $7 billion in cuts for public education!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re here today, united in our dedication for the chance at a better tomorrow for our children.

We’re here today because when we TEACH our children that “they must be the change they wish to see in the world” we tell them it means STANDING UP for what you believe in.

We are here today because we will use this place and this time to Teach our students about REAL HEROES like Harriet Tubman and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and show our children by example what citizenship and America REALLY STANDS For!

And we are here today because we are telling our children that there is a choice in ALL elections, and a better choice will need to be made in November!”

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