Solidarity with Muslim teachers and students.

Yesterday I read the story about British teacher Juhel Miah, thrown off a plane to the USA for no good reason.  See here

I doubt that will ever happen to me. Or to my children. It’s not good enough to just tut, sigh loudly and indulge in some anti Trump humour. There are Muslim children and teachers who are scared and uncomfortable. It is time we did more than sign a petition .

I have no further knowledge of the case than what is in the media but I have decided to do something – tiny, I know, but something nevertheless.

  1. I have written a letter to Justice Greening. Please read and if you agree please consider adding your name to it.
  2. I am going to collect e-messages of solidarity for Juhel (see link) to forward to him via his school
  3. I am going to send a letter to the Telegraph to try to start a debate about the morals of running school trips to places where staff and students won’t be admitted due to their country of birth or their religion.

If you are a teacher, governor, parent, head, academic or anyone with an interest in education please get involved. Raise this issue at staff meetings, union meetings etc. Equality policies, rights respecting schools etc are not worth the paper that are printed on if we don’t stand squarely with staff and students who are facing appalling discrimination. Have a debate about what your school is going to do to support Muslim staff and children.

I don’t know any more than what is in the newspapers but I do know that if we tolerate this our children most certainly will be next.

Here is the letter I have written:

To the Right Honourable Justine Greening,

We are writing to you in your role as Her Majesty’s principal  Secretary of State for Education.

We are sure that you, like us, are appalled at the disgraceful treatment of British teacher Juhel Miah, who was denied entry to the United States last week seemingly because he is a Muslim.  We feel that it is important for all Muslim teachers and pupils in this country to feel safe and included in school trips. To this end would you make representation to the American government?  Please can you seek reassurance that our Muslim teachers and students will be free to travel to the USA without fear or harassment?

It is important that we condemn this discrimination and offer support to our colleagues, many of whom give up their own holiday so that pupils can have these experiences. Your condemnation, and gesture of support would greatly reassure the teachers, parents and pupils, who are rightly shocked by this incident.

The way Juhel was treated by the US has wider implications for school communities. Should we be planning educational trips if staff are refused entry solely due to their country of birth or choice of religion?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

We are planning to send a message of support to Juhel Miah and to write to a national papers discussing the issues we have raised in this letter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

If you don’t like it then write your own! If you do like it then click here to add your self as a signature 

A Song for Trump

protest

 

WANTED: A protest song that can be sung by groups protesting the state visit of Donald Trump to the UK. A song that clearly rejects the disgusting racism and sexism that Trump so proudly proclaims. A song that reminds everyone there is an alternative and that we wont tolerate bigotry. A song that celebrates diversity and the power of people standing together to challenge injustice. It needs to be easy enough to teach to a crowd and catchy!

I want an anthem that unites everyone who opposes Trump. A song we could share with the many community choirs up and down the land. A song that trade unionists could learn in their meetings. A song that people could learn on the streets, at the protests and online. We could ask people to upload their own versions and share via social media. it would be great to get professional musicians onboard but really we want a song that EVERYONE can sing.

Now I’m not suggesting we write a song by committee! But is there anyone out there willing to give it a shot? I bet if we came up with a decent song we could share it far and wide.

There is a conference next Saturday to organise the opposition to Trump when he comes to the UK later this year. Can we come up with a song by then to propose to the conference that we make our anthem?

It could be a new arrangement of a traditional song or something brand new. Personally I’m channeling, “Do you Hear the People Sing?” from Les Mis.

Lets get the labour movement singing again. Time we found our voice!

Nearly there!

We are just putting the finishing touches to the song and video “This School”. It should be live tomorrow on the NUT official youtube account.

Working on “This School” has been an utter joy from start to finish. So many good, kind people have shared their talents generously. No ego’s, no agenda’s, no game playing just good old fashioned solidarity.

I am in a feverish state of excitement. I think it is good. I think it is really, really good. I know that we are never going to please everyone but my biggest hope is that it becomes a rallying call for everyone who rejects the ideological attacks on our schools.

“This School” is an anthem. It’s time to stand up.
Thank you to everyone who contributed. I’ve never been prouder to be an NUT member. To be honest I haven’t really been a very proactive union member – I’ve not helped build the local division and I’ve never been to conference. However meeting Ruth Serwotka, NUT organiser, on twitter has transformed my activism. I’m so grateful Ruth that you listened to my proposal and helped us make this a reality. Thank you Ruth for having faith in the membership! It really wouldn’t have got off the ground without you.

This song is going to make a difference.

Arrangements for Sun 8th May

 

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Really looking forward to Sunday. Just a few reminders

1.If you haven’t come along before – don’t panic! You can listen to the audio tracks by scrolling down to the last post. We are a very friendly bunch and Gitika is an exceptionally good teacher so you will be just fine! Whether you are a parent, teacher, head, governor,grandparent or a concerned citizen you will be very welcome.

2. We are meeting at 11.00am at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, Kings Cross. It is a few minutes walk from Kings Cross. We plan to finish by 3.00pm

3. Dress code is wear something green. If you have a “Stand up for education” t shirt could you bring it along or wear it. We will be distributing some new ones as well.

4. There will be no cafe open so can you bring a picnic style lunch – maybe with something to share?

5. If you have any home made placards/posters hanging around can you bring them with you for the video?

6. We will be videoing the day and I am looking for a volunteer to act as runner for the person filming. This isn’t a technical job – it is mainly rounding up people to be interviewed and maybe asking the questions. Can you leave me a comment if you can rope someone in to do this?

7. We could still do with more people. Please can you see if you can bring extras with you. In particular we could do with some more men.

8. Those of you on twitter could you tweet about this using #ThisSchool as the hashtag?

9, For those of you want a score you can download one here this school is your school – Full Score (1)

The audio tracks for “This School”

NUT choir Polly D

This choir is open to everyone , young or old, teacher, parent, governor or interested citizen, who wants to reclaim education.

Below are the audio tracks.

Have a listen and choose the track that best suits your voice. If you have the time please listen to it a few times in advance of coming along on Thursday 28th and /or Sunday 8th May.

This school – Soprano

This school – Alto 

This School – Tenor

This School – Bass

Here is the whole song

 

Here are the Lyrics for you to download and bring along. Have a look at the subtle change in each chorus

We owe Gitika a HUGE round of applause for acting so quickly to get this arranged for us. I think she has done a fantastic job and created an amazing resource that we can use to build our movement.

Practical Arrangements:

This is being organised by a few ordinary NUT members and teachers so please be patient with us if there are any glitches! The union is being fantastic and  giving us great support.

Rehearsal Thursday 28th April 4.30 – 6.30 at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, Kings Cross (Nr Kings Cross Station) Gitika will teach us the song but we will also be recording some bits. There will also be someone filming for our video.NB If you are outside of London or just can’t make this – don’t worry but make sure you practise with audio tracks and have a go at learn the learning the lyrics. You can still join us on Sunday

Recording Sunday 8th May 11.00 – 3.oopm : Hamiliton House, Mabledon Place.  We are expecting about least 100 people so we will struggle to feed you all – please bring a picnic lunch as we may not have enough time to go out. Oh and bring plenty of water!

We will be looking for volunteers to be interviewed about this project for the video. I’m also looking for two people to act as volunteer runners for the video production. Any volunteers? If  you already have personalised homemade signs/placards please bring along with you for the video. Any  education campaign t shirts would also be good to bring along.

If you are on twitter please could you follow tweeps below so we can keep in touch. Please say hello and I will follow you back.

@jackieschneider (me)

@educatingjess

@ruthserwotka

@gitikasings

@crownlane

We are using the hashtag #ThisSchool to promote our project

There is also a Facebook page “Singers for Education protest song needed” 

Finally, thank you to everyone. It is easy to just feel depressed at the appalling onslaught we are under but I really believe that this song could spread far and wide and actually move people to action! Am already imagining this song blasting out in meetings, rallies, picket lines and demonstrations up and down the land.