Leaders and staff offer to assist in city cleanup and recovery
STATE — The New Jersey Education Association cancelled its annual convention for the first time in its 158-year history. The two-day event, the largest educational gathering of its kind in the world, was scheduled for Nov. 8-9 in Atlantic City.
NJEA President Barbara Keshishian announced the decision today, “in light of the natural disaster that has struck New Jersey and Atlantic City in particular. It was a difficult decision, but we believe it was the correct one, considering the statewide impact of this unprecedented storm.”
Keshishian also announced that the leadership of NJEA is exploring ways for NJEA members, leaders, and staff to contribute to and assist in the city’s cleanup and recovery.
“Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of everyone in Atlantic City, and everyone planning to attend our convention this year,” Keshishian said. “Because we are a statewide organization, and public schools across the state have been grappling with the impact of Sandy all week long, we have to consider the feasibility of holding this event in a broader context. Like Atlantic City, New Jersey’s school districts need time to recover and regroup from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” Keshishian said.
“The NJEA Convention is a massive event, involving tens of thousands of people. We concluded it was simply not advisable to try to have that many people on the roads and using public transportation while so many communities are struggling to restore power and basic services to their residents – including NJEA members,” she said.
Citing NJEA’s long history of holding the Convention in Atlantic City, Keshishian said NJEA leaders, staff, and members “want to assist in helping this historic city rebuild and recover. Accordingly, we have reached out to area officials to ascertain how we may be of the greatest assistance. People in Atlantic City are hurting, and we genuinely want to help them in whatever ways we can.”
Keshishian said the NJEA Convention would be back next year, “bigger and stronger than ever, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with the great people of Atlantic City.”
The New Jersey Retirees’ Education Association (NJREA) annual Convention, which was scheduled for Nov. 7-8, has also been cancelled.