Steven Van Zandt honored by American Federation of Teachers
“There are no wrong answers in the arts,” Van Zandt said. “The arts provide a comfort zone, and that extends to other disciplines. I cannot overstate my appreciation for everything you do and for this price. I salute you. You are helping to create the next generation of engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses, artists, activists, writers and even musicians.
Van Zandt is a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and also leads his own group, the Disciples of Soul. In addition, he is an award-winning actor and renowned activist.
With the E Street Band, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Musical Excellence category in 2014. Along with the rest of HBO’s cast The Sopranos, Van Zandt received two SAG Awards (and seven nominations) for Outstanding Performance in a Drama Series.
Van Zandt, 70, attended Middletown High School in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, in the mid to late 1960s. He was kicked out of school for having the long hair. He returned to school to appease his mother and finally graduated in 1968.
Randi Weingarten, President of AFT, said in a statement: “Steven passionately disseminates the gospel of the tireless work of teachers and actively engages with teachers and students through regular classroom visits and through didactics. It lends its name and notoriety to supporting educators, which is especially special considering all they have done to support students over the past year.
She noted that Van Zandt does not miss an opportunity to publicly promote the work of teachers, including during his concerts and on his SiriusXM radio show. He even went on picket lines with striking teachers.
Weingarten said the silver lining of the pandemic was that the public saw how hard teachers worked to support their students during such difficult times. “Steven knew this long before the pandemic and is telling the truth to power when and where he can. “