Dear Friends:

I’ve said a lot of goodbyes over the past month or so, but this will be my last. I have this thing about long goodbyes…if you linger too long, people think you don’t want to leave! But just know that I am leaving leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union in more than capable hands. Our team of officers is phenomenal and our staff is fearless, but what is most important are the rank-and-file members of this union.

We are perhaps more powerful now than we have ever been, and this is due, in large part, to your embrace of a vision of what our schools and our city deserve. So don’t lose that passion. Never forget that you are working in a system and in a society of inequities, but through unity and organization, you can bring justice to those who have suffered the most and benefit the least. And this applies to all aspects of our daily lives, from organizing in your school buildings to prioritizing the needs of your own city and communities.

I’m sure I will see you soon, at House of Delegates, in a school or organizing meeting, or at a march or rally. I have come full circle to where I began in this work two decades ago, which is even more evidence that now is the right time for me to move on.

My experience in labor has been a labor of love, and the work of a lifetime. It’s given back to me everything that I have put into it, and then some. I am grateful for that.

Thank you for all you do for this union, for your school communities and for our city. I will always be your brother, your friend and a proud member of the mighty Chicago Teachers Union.

In solidarity,
Jesse Sharkey