As President of the BC Teachers’ Federation—a union that has
stood in solidarity for many years with our brothers and sisters across Latin
America—I am very proud and deeply saddened to be here today.
For the past 25 years we have worked together with the
democratic teachers’ movement of Mexico through the Tri-National Coalition in
Defense of Public Education.
Over the decades we have built strong bonds of friendship and
solidarity, as well as a deep understanding of the challenges facing public
educators in both our countries.
Many of the issues are the same, but there is one fundamental
and profound difference. Here in Canada we are free to express our views and
advocate for our students without fear.
In the struggle for quality public education for all, our
Mexican colleagues risk their lives, and too often they lose their lives.
This terrible fact should be a source of deep shame for the
What kind of society kills its teachers? Those who dedicate
themselves to the next generation, to building a better future?
I am here today to offer the full weight of our voice—the 41,000
public school teachers in British Columbia—in this international call for
There is no room in this world for the persecution, torture,
and murder of teachers, educators, and students who advocate for their
communities and for public education.
And the fact that government officials, including the town’s
mayor and police have already been arrested as suspects is especially
Since news of the missing 43 student teachers first broke, authorities
have found multiple mass graves and dozens of bodies… but none of them are the
students we are seeking.
We must see justice for the 43 disappeared student teachers
We call on all levels of government in Mexico to end the
corruption and persecution that has put so many teachers’ and students’ lives
These reports of torture, burnings, and mass killings are
atrocities. They are state crimes against humanity, and they must stop.
The world must put pressure on the government of Mexico to
take meaningful action and end this atrocious epidemic of torture and killings.
Today, as teachers and as concerned global citizens, the BC Teachers’
Federation stands in solidarity with the unions, teachers, students, and all
Mexicans who are demanding justice.
We also stand in solidarity with the families who have lost
so many of their loved ones. We grieve along with them, and honour their
Today, BC teachers join the growing international call for
action, and demand that the Mexican government bring those responsible for the disappearance
of the 43 student teachers before the courts and prosecute them to the fullest
extent of the law.
We will continue to monitor this case, and will continue to
make our concerns known to the Mexican authorities here in Vancouver and in