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I hope that in the wake of Newtown, as we take on the NRA for sensible gun regulation and getting military-style weapons, cop killer bullets, automatic and semi-automatic rifles and handguns off the streets, we remember our nation’s teachers.

The Newtown Principal and school counselor ran at the shooter to save the kids in their school. One teacher died after hiding her students and convincing the killer her kids were in the gym.

Teachers and other school workers died doing all they could to save their students. Teachers are American heroes, and we should treat them and honor them as such. Teachers are workers like the rest of us and they deserve our support and solidarity.

My mother was a junior high teacher. She worked so hard that she had a massive heart attack in the classroom six months before her scheduled retirement. She died 18 hours later. Like many teachers she was tough but loving, took no shit, and expected everyone to do their best. Martha Myrl Stewart Acuff did everything she could to help every student fulfill all their potential, going so far as to give a dyslexic student his exams after class verbally. Martha Myrl Stewart Acuff was raised on a family farm chopping cotton in the blazing Tennessee summer sun and picking cotton in fall. She expected all of us to work hard. She once assigned my 8th grade class to memorize a 96 line poem by Rudyard Kipling. I was so pissed off I wouldn’t talk to her at home. But I know she did it to prepare us for college or the work world, to teach us personal discipline, and the necessity of hard work.

If you, your staff, or the leaders and activists in your local don’t have Getting America Back to Work and/or Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, please contact me through the contact page on my website BY CLICKING HERE. I will send you both books for only $15 plus shipping.

Thanks for all you do every day for all the rest of us and remember what the ancient prophet Jeremiah said: Deliver justice every morning and deliver those who are oppressed from the power of their oppressor.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
Get the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

Originally posted to StewartAcuff on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 06:02 AM PST.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge.

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