Person

David Gray

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Vice President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Political Party:

Democratic Party

Residence:

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

David Wayne Gray [1] is a labor union activist who is a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) [2] and president of the Oklahoma Federation of Classified Employees. [3]

Gray has taken several left-of-center and left-wing positions in the past. He has claimed to have “always been against police in schools” [4] and has been a member of AFT’s critical race theory-inspired “Racial Equity Task Force” since 2015. [5] He has said the only time he “isn’t dealing with institutional racism is when he’s asleep,” and has vowed to “fight like hell for a sustained focus on the issue.” [6]

Career

David Gray has been the president of the Oklahoma Federation of Classified Employees since 1988. He is also a national vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). [7] [8]

Gray is chair of the Oklahoma American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Human Rights Committee and chairs its Constitutional Amendments and Convention Committee. He is also a member of the AFT Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) program and Policy Council. [9]

Gray is a former vice president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, [10] a left-of-center “constituency group” for African-American union members. Gray was also the first African American member of the International Brotherhood of Heat and Frost Insulators labor union. [11]

In 1997, Gray created the Central Oklahoma Community Forum, which builds coalitions between left-progressive religious, labor, and civic organizations. [12] Initial participants in this forum included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the A. Philip Randolph Institute, United Way, and the feminist Coalition of Labor Union Women, among others. [13]

Comments on Race and Discipline in Schools

David Gray has been a member of the American Federation of Teachers’ critical race theory-inspired “Racial Equity Task Force” since 2015. [14] He has said the only time he “isn’t dealing with institutional racism is when he’s asleep” and has vowed to “fight like hell for a sustained focus on the issue.” [15]

Gray has claimed to have “always been against police in schools,” [16] alleged that police in schools traumatize students in predominately African American communities, [17] and claimed to pursue “honest conversations” about race and how it allegedly affects policing in communities and schools. [18]

In 2015, Gray wrote a letter calling for Oklahoma City teachers and staff to undergo “cultural relevance training” due to a perceived “racially biased discipline system” which he claimed produces “bias against students of color” in Oklahoma City Schools. [19] Grey said the training would help educators “recognize the remedy and often-unconscious biases” teachers may have while moving to “understand the cultures our students are from,” rather than disciplining them. [20]

In that same letter, Gray called for a new discipline code that focuses on identifying the causes of student behavior instead of disciplining behavior, claiming that the school district could create “student discipline programs that foster order and stop the glaring racial discrepancies in our schools.” [21]

Gray followed his letter with statements in a November 2015 Oklahoma City Public Schools school board meeting in which he said that misbehavior in classrooms as reported by teachers does not “exist” during an open forum discussing disruptive students and the need for a new student code of conduct. [22]

Political Activities

In 2018, David Gray spoke at an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) rally featuring left-progressive U.S. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). [23]

 

In 2017, Gray was critical of then-President Donald Trump’s “slow response” to hurricane damage in the Caribbean and claimed that he was more focused on “playing golf, tweeting about pro football players and the national anthem” instead of working on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. [24]

Political Contributions

David Gray has made several contributions to Democratic Party political candidates, campaign committees, and Democratic-affiliated pass-through funding organizations, such as ActBlue and the left-progressive MoveOn.org Political Action, at least 10 times since 2016. [25]

He has made donations to organizations including the left-of-center Progressive Turnout Project, the Oklahoma Democratic Party, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and U.S. Representative Deborah Ross (D-NC). [26]

Personal Information

David Gray resides in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [27] Prior to his career in labor union activism, Gray served a one-year tour [28] as a combat engineer with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. [29]

References

  1. “David Gray.” Federal Election Commission of the United States. Searchable Reporting Database. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=david+gray&contributor_city=oklahoma+city ^
  2. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  3. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  4. “Make Black Lives matter by investing in Black communities—Part II.” July 14, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/news/make-black-lives-matter-investing-black-communities-part-ii. ^
  5. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity in Education Economics, and Our Criminal Justice System.” American Federation of Teachers. October 8, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  6. “AFT Organizes First Forum on Racial Justice.” American Federation of Teachers Connecticut. January 26, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  7. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  8. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  9.  [1] “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  10. Gray, David. “Union Members are Community Members.” The Professional Educator. American Educator. Winter 2012-2013. Pg. 22-26. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ995903.pdf ^
  11. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  12. Gray, David. “Union Members are Community Members.” The Professional Educator. American Educator. Winter 2012-2013. Pg. 22-26. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ995903.pdf ^
  13. Gray, David. “Union Members are Community Members.” The Professional Educator. American Educator. Winter 2012-2013. Pg. 22-26. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ995903.pdf ^
  14. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity in Education Economics, and Our Criminal Justice System.” American Federation of Teachers. October 8, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  15. “AFT Organizes First Forum on Racial Justice.” American Federation of Teachers Connecticut. January 26, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  16. “Make Black Lives matter by investing in Black communities—Part II.” July 14, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/news/make-black-lives-matter-investing-black-communities-part-ii. ^
  17. “Make Black Lives matter by investing in Black communities—Part II.” July 14, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/news/make-black-lives-matter-investing-black-communities-part-ii. ^
  18. “Make Black Lives matter by investing in Black communities—Part II.” July 14, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/news/make-black-lives-matter-investing-black-communities-part-ii. ^
  19. Gray, David. “Union official: OKC teachers, staff need cultural relevance training.” The Oklahoman. June 17, 2015. Updated June 17, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.oklahoman.com/article/5428103/union-official-okc-teachers-staff-need-cultural-relevance-training. ^
  20.  Gray, David. “Union official: OKC teachers, staff need cultural relevance training.” The Oklahoman. June 17, 2015. Updated June 17, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.oklahoman.com/article/5428103/union-official-okc-teachers-staff-need-cultural-relevance-training. ^
  21.  Gray, David. “Union official: OKC teachers, staff need cultural relevance training.” The Oklahoman. June 17, 2015. Updated June 17, 2015. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.oklahoman.com/article/5428103/union-official-okc-teachers-staff-need-cultural-relevance-training. ^
  22. Garcia, Mireya. “OKCPS teachers upset with district over student discipline problems.” Fox 25 Oklahoma City. November 23, 2021. https://okcfox.com/news/local/okcps-teachers-upset-with-district-over-student-discipline-problems. ^
  23. “U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds education rally in OKC – Photo Gallery.” The Oklahoman. September 23, 2018. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.oklahoman.com/gallery/6039025/aft-teacher-rally ^
  24. Gray, David. “Our military knows how to build things, so why not focus on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands?” American Federation of Teachers. October 7, 2017. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://aftvoices.org/our-military-knows-how-to-build-things-so-why-not-focus-on-puerto-rico-and-the-virgin-islands-a796d32bad29. ^
  25. “David Gray.” Federal Election Commission of the United States. Searchable Reporting Database. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=david+gray&contributor_city=oklahoma+city. ^
  26. “David Gray.” Federal Election Commission of the United States. Searchable Reporting Database. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=david+gray&contributor_city=oklahoma+city ^
  27. “David Gray.” Federal Election Commission of the United States. Searchable Reporting Database. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=david+gray&contributor_city=oklahoma+city. ^
  28. “David Gray.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/david-gray. ^
  29. Gray, David. “Our military knows how to build things, so why not focus on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands?” American Federation of Teachers Voices. October 7, 2017. Accessed August 25, 2021. https://aftvoices.org/our-military-knows-how-to-build-things-so-why-not-focus-on-puerto-rico-and-the-virgin-islands-a796d32bad29. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
    Vice President
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