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A Thanksgiving message from CTU President Jesse Sharkey to rank and file CTU and CTU-ACTS members:

The holidays are typically a time for reflection and a time to express our thanks and contemplate our vision for the new year. I’m feeling especially thankful this year for the many gifts I’ve been given: my family and friends, of course, but also the privilege to work side by side with my fellow educators, the dedicated, courageous rank-and-file members of our union.

I am always proud of the CTU, but during the pandemic, I’ve been in awe of the dedication, resilience, professionalism and empathy you’ve shown, every day, in your schools and in the greater community. You’ve helped lessen the burdens on your students and their families, which is no easy feat given the massive inequities and tragedies our school communities face.

I’m also thankful for the way you demand better for your students. Whether it’s organizing your safety committees, reporting filthy, unsafe building conditions or joining protests in the streets, you are making a difference in the work we do to protect our school communities and fight for what our students and their families need.

I can’t thank enough the students and parents who continue to support us and stand with us, because they know we are fighting for the schools their children deserve. It’s a fight that centers everything we do as a union, and I know it centers your work every day as teachers, clinicians, counselors, social workers, librarians and PSRPs.

It’s been a hard year and a half and full of tragedies for many school communities. Many of our families, including my own, will be missing loved ones and friends this week. But I’m also feeling hopeful because of our unity. Every step forward that we take together is anchored by our collective strength, our solidarity and our commitment to the greater good, and this commitment is critical for our students and families, and for those of us who work to support them every day.

Wishing you a happy and restful holiday season.