MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The first state-wide NJ Teachers for Black Lives Rally and March is set for today at 4 p.m. Four South Orange Maplewood School District teachers organized the event, which will begin at Grove Park in South Orange. 

The assembled will march from Grove Park to Memorial Park in Maplewood. At press time, several dozen school districts from across the state have teachers attending, including numerous schools in Essex County; educators from Millburn, Montclair, Livingston, Irvington, West Orange, East Orange, Newark, Verona, and Nutley have all responded that they will attend.

The teachers were inspired to organize the rally after seeing their students organize both a student rally and a family rally in the past week, said organizer Stephanie Rivera.

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"We were listening to our students' pain...and felt we had to respond," said Rivera, a U.S. History teacher and coach at Columbia High School in Maplewood. She called their rallies amazing and inspiring. "We must show our students that they are not alone in this fight for racial justice, but rather that they have a whole community — including their teachers and school staff — who are fighting for justice with them," she said.

She worked with SOMSD educators TJ Whitaker, Willy Sumner, Greg Tuttle, and others to create the event, and was surprised at the immediate large response. "We thought 100 people would come," she said, and now there are teachers and others confirmed from "37 districts from across the state."

All NJ teachers, school staff, students, parents, and community members to join; more information is on the Facebook event page. Participants are asked to wear a mask and be concious about social distancing.



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