Remarks by Vice President Harris at the Nationwide Training Association 2022 Yearly Meeting and Agent Assembly

McCormick Place Conference Middle
Chicago, Illinois

5:12 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic afternoon, NEA!  Superior afternoon!  (Applause.) 
Oh, what a sight my eyes behold.  I am so delighted to be with you all this afternoon.  I am so joyful to be with you.  And thank you for every little thing you do and almost everything you are.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 
And, Becky, thank you for becoming this kind of an incredible leader in remarkable periods. (Applause.)  Really.  I have run into her in diverse locations about the state, and she is generally speaking about you and the significance of this organization and the significance of this corporation to the upcoming of our country.  Thank you, Becky, for that introduction.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
So, ahead of I get started with my handle to you, I want to just briefly but importantly address the tragedy just miles away in Highland Park.
As we all know, yesterday really should have been a day to appear with each other with family and close friends to celebrate our nation’s independence.  And in its place, that community endured a violent tragedy.  Youngsters, mother and father, grandparents — victims to a senseless act of gun violence. 
And Doug, who is listed here with me, he and I — of course, we mourn, as you do, for all those who have been killed.  And we pray for those people who have been hurt.  And we all grieve, I know, for the lives that are permanently improved in that local community, like, of class, the college students and the lecturers of that community who have endured good decline. 
And I never need to tell NEA: We need to have to conclusion this horror.  We need to cease this violence.  (Applause.) 
And we need to secure our communities from the terror of gun violence.  You know, I’ve said it right before: Sufficient is adequate.  (Applause.) 
I imply, listed here we are, and our country is continue to mourning the loss of those people 19 toddlers and their two instructors in Uvalde.  This massacre was the most current reminder — in Uvalde — of the threats that our kids and our educators facial area each working day.
Lecturers really should not have to apply barricading a classroom.  (Applause.)  Teachers need to not have to know how to address a gunshot wound.  (Applause.)  And academics should not be advised that “Lives would have been saved if only you had a gun.”  (Applause.) 
Now, we have produced some development.  For the to start with time in 30 years, our President, Joe Biden, signed a federal gun security monthly bill.  (Applause.)  And it strengthens track record checks, and it closes what we get in touch with the “boyfriend loophole,” and it incorporates funding for mental well being companies and college security. 
But we have much more to do.  We have far more to do.  (Applause.) 
And Congress wants to have the braveness to act and renew the assault weapons ban.  (Applause.) 
You know, I’ll discuss in a moment about how you as educators educate the young children so significantly.  And you educate the youngsters, between many factors, explanation.
So, let’s speak about what an assault weapon is built to do.  An assault weapon is developed to kill a whole lot of human beings promptly.  There is no purpose that we have weapons of war on the streets of The united states.  We want fair gun security rules!  (Applause.) 
And we want to have Congress quit preserving individuals gun suppliers with the legal responsibility defend.  Repeal it!  Repeal it! (Applause.) 
So we can’t be deterred.  We know we have issues.  We cannot be deterred.
And, NEA, we will not give up this combat.  We will not tire because I know who you are that is just not in our mother nature.  (Applause.)
And that, NEA, is why I am so honored to be below with you — for the reason that I do know this place.  This is a home of fighters.  And I know — (applause) — how deeply personalized this function is to each individual a single of you. 
As an educator, your work doesn’t stop at the end of the day when you stroll out of your faculty.  Your work is entire-time.  (Applause.)  I know that. 
Students arrive to your classroom just before the working day begins — for enable with homework from time to time with an vacant tummy that you feed — (applause) or just to have anyone they have faith in to talk with.  (Applause.)  Your college students look to you to explain to them all the things is going to be ok, even often when you may possibly not be guaranteed. 
But you keep on to clearly show up.  And that is why the President and I are honored to companion with the NEA to build our nation’s leaders.  (Applause.)
And as a personal level of pleasure for all of us to have an educator and just one of your active users in the White Dwelling as Initially Girl — (laughs) — (applause) — Dr. Jill Biden.  Yes.  (Applause.) 
And I can notify you — so I from time to time see her in a different scenario than you may possibly, and permit me just notify you anything.  I have watched her go from the classroom specifically to events at the White Property or throughout the country and around the entire world, grading papers in amongst.  (Applause.)  So, like you, she is a extraordinary educator who evokes us all.
NEA, who you are and what you do is also private to me.  I’ve shared with some of you: My first-quality instructor, Mrs. Frances Wilson — God relaxation her soul — attended my legislation faculty graduation.  (Applause.)  And there are quite a few people today who have contributed to me to be equipped to provide as the 1st lady Vice President of the United States — (applause) — but I’m heading to inform you, Mrs. Wilson was a person of the earliest.  (Applause.)
So, you all, you not only form lives, but you also form policies. 
And we read you when we took office environment when you told us about the problems that subject most to you and your college students. 
We read you when you instructed us about the worry and the uncertainty that you confronted through the pandemic and about the excess support little ones desired once they returned to the classroom. So, with your enable, we directed more than $120 billion to our nation’s universities by way of the American Rescue Strategy — with your assist.  (Applause.)
And this funding also led to a new initiative, introduced just these days, to aid college students who fell guiding in the course of the pandemic, which implies 250,000 tutors and mentors throughout the place will be in universities to give college students the assistance they will need and to support your operate just about every working day.  (Applause.)
We also heard you when you reported your structures are falling apart — that the faculty properties are slipping aside.  (Applause.)  We heard you that air conditioners have been broken in the summer season heat.  We read you when you explained as well quite a few of our young children consume h2o poisoned with lead and breathe dangerous fumes from their bus ride to school.  (Applause.)
We read you when you explained your learners cannot do their homework for the reason that they can’t afford to pay for nor do they have obtain to be equipped to get on line.  (Applause.)
So we handed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation, and it will repair service getting older university infrastructure to save colleges cash.  It will change direct pipes in 400,000 schools and childcare facilities throughout the state — (applause) — so that our youngsters can drink thoroughly clean drinking water.  It will electrify our nation’s faculty buses so small children can have thoroughly clean air to breathe.  (Applause.)  It will make superior-speed World wide web accessible and economical to each individual American family. 
And this will come about for the reason that of your assistance and your management.  Thank you, NEA.  (Applause.)
And we nonetheless have extra to do, and we have so a great deal to do jointly.
NEA, you are extraordinarily helpful as a team advocate for alter, which is why we know that you have been capable to see the good results you have achieved.  And it is no surprise why, because we know unions know how to manage.  (Applause.)
I say all around the state: You might not be a member of a union, but you far better thank the union for the 5-day function 7 days and weekends, paid go away.  (Applause.)
And I usually meet up with — and it’s — I know you do, and lots of are right here — I normally meet with youthful organizers from around the region.  And what is interesting is that we are seeing in a new, young generation that they want the advantages and the protections that come from becoming a member of a union.  (Applause.)  They want it.  They want it.  Since they know what we all know: Unions give workers a voice.  (Applause.)
And so, this is an historic second, I assume, for the labor motion.  Now, unions have their maximum approval rating given that 1965.  (Applause.)  About 50 % of all non-union employees say they would be a part of a union if offered the prospect.  That is almost 60 million people.  (Applause.)  Consider about that.
But we also know there are obstacles for them to meet up with that motivation.  And we know what it is.  A single is that lots of persons nevertheless really do not know how to be part of a union, and so that’s section of the perform we have ahead is to proceed to remind them about how.  But even if they do know how, we also know, across our nation, folks deal with boundaries that have been designed up over the decades by company passions and anti-union politicians and regressive court circumstances.  (Applause.)
I’ve fought a lot of of individuals instances when I was Lawyer Standard of California, so we know the obstacles are there.  (Applause.)
California is in the home.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)
And so, our administration, collectively with you, we are all doing a whole lot to tear down individuals barriers. 
And I’ll convey to you, I’m extremely proud to guide the White Household Activity Drive on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, along with my great mate — our superior mate — Secretary Marty Walsh.  And — (applause) — from Massachusetts. 
And our President, Joe Biden, approved all of our 70 proposals to make it simpler for personnel to manage.  And here’s the significance of that: It relates to federal staff, but the federal workforce is truly — the federal authorities is major employer in the region.  And so, when you assume about it, as we undertake the suggestions to make it less difficult for federal staff to manage, you will place to all of that to say, “If it can materialize there, it can take place right here.”  (Applause.)
And there is far more to do.
So, we are wanting at the truth that the President and I are identified to guide not only the most professional-union administration in American record but to shift our nation ahead. 
We are identified to struggle for a potential wherever a teacher’s wage can provide for a relatives.  (Applause.)  Since I know it is nonetheless the situation that some of you are operating two jobs.  (Applause.)  Some it’s possible even three.  I know that. 
We are identified to battle for a foreseeable future wherever you under no circumstances again have to invest your possess dollars on university supplies to meet your students’ wants.  (Applause.)
We will struggle for a long term the place teachers can teach our children with the assets, with the protection, and the respect that you are worthy of.  (Applause.)
Since we are crystal clear: When we do that, we can be confident that every boy or girl can arrive at their God-given opportunity.  (Applause.)
So, these are the values that our administration stands for.  And I assume, when it arrives down to it, it is in essence this: When you know what you stand for, you know what to combat for.  (Applause.)
And so a lot of what we just got through chatting about is what extremist so-referred to as “leaders” stand towards. 
Due to the fact our administration has started out, not a single Republican leader in Washington voted to rescue our country in the center of a pandemic, like when we proposed methods for our children and our educators. 
Not one Republican leader in Washington, D.C., voted to lengthen the Child Tax Credit, which aids the poorest college students and their family members.
In its place, these extremist so-referred to as “leaders” fought versus boosting your pay out. 
Instead, these extremist so-identified as “leaders” refuse to hold assault weapons off our streets and out of our lecture rooms and experimented with to silence your voice by means of your union.
And as an alternative, these so-called “leaders” have attempted to make you pawns of their political agenda. 
Mainly because though you work tricky to encourage the desires and ambitions of our upcoming technology, they dare question your devotion, your determination, and your value. 
Whilst you work tough — (applause) — whilst you perform challenging to train the principles of liberty and independence in your classroom, these so-identified as “leaders” are using freedoms absent — (applause): liberty away from women and the freedom to make choices above their very own bodies — (applause) freedom absent from a kindergarten-to-third-grade teacher in Florida to adore brazenly and with satisfaction — (applause) and away from just about every American as they deliberately check out to make it a lot more difficult for folks to vote.  (Applause.)
We are 126 times absent from an election, and we all know what we want to do.  (Applause.)  And, you know, I also assume — I’m speaking to a team of educators — I also feel that these extremist so-termed “leaders” need to have to go to a civics lesson.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.) 
I believe — I essentially believe it would advantage us all if they sat in your classroom for a few days to keep in mind how a democracy works — (applause) to recall what freedoms stands for and to recall what careers they ended up elected to do.  (Applause.)
All that to say that, as educators, you know, we all know that heritage has in no way been an unbroken line towards development that even when we have improvements, there will be setbacks.  In specified occasions, those setbacks becoming a lot more drastic than in some others. This is a single of those moments, but we will not be deterred. 
The President and I are counting on you to support us transfer forward as a nation, just as NEA has accomplished during its background.  Because I remember that this firm fought to decreased the voting age to 18.  (Applause.)  I bear in mind that this group fought to guard Black academics from college districts that defied desegregation orders.  (Applause.)  I remember that this was the corporation that stood with some others to combat to pass DACA and be certain undocumented men and women can study in our communities.  (Applause.)
All over again and once again, you have been champions of social justice.  And it is crystal clear: Educators are a central component, then, of shifting our nation forward.  You are not only critical to our children’s long term.  I’m in this article to share with you: You, I think, are necessary to the foreseeable future of our democracy.  (Applause.)
So, we will do this work alongside one another for the reason that, NEA, when we look at where we are, we know that NEA has usually been a strong force — a powerful force whose customers fully grasp the electrical power of unity. 
So, these could be hard times.  And I know that at the stop of this convening, you will every single go back again to your house district you will go again and you will devote lengthy evenings and nights making ready for the future working day you will go again and frequently be in a problem the place it feels variety of like you could be the only a single who sees what you’re observing and understands what is at stake.  (Applause.)
But let’s bear in mind times like this.  And allow us remember that the battle towards development by its quite character is not linear. We’re going to have our ups we’re going to have our downs.
Let’s bear in mind — I like to paraphrase all the time what Coretta Scott King stated.  She stated: The struggle for justice, the struggle for civil legal rights, the battle for freedom, the fight for equality need to be fought and gained with each individual technology.  And I believe when she claimed that, she had two points in thoughts.  One particular is that it is the quite character of what we stand for and, thus, battle for that whatever gains we make will not be lasting.
There is so a lot energy in what we realize, but there is also fragility.  So, we ought to be vigilant.  And the next level then remaining: If we realize which is the mother nature of it — it’s not going to be long-lasting it is fragile, until we are vigilant — it’s the character of it, so do not despair.  Do not be confused.  Do not toss up our arms when it is a time to roll up our sleeves.  (Applause.)
Thank you, NEA.  God bless you.  God bless our instruction.  And God bless the United States of America.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)
                         Stop                 5:38 P.M. CDT