The 2013 CTA Human Rights Award recipients. Front row: Jenny Chomori, CTA Secretary-Treasurer Mikki Cichocki-Semo, Vice President Eric Heins, President Dean Vogel, Katherine Jordan, Rebecca Harper (representing San Gorgonio Service Center Council). Second row: Christal Watts (representing Vallejo Education Association), Gary Leveque, Jorge Salas, Cliff Kusaba, Caroline Kris, Vanessa Perez, April Carmelo, Pat Sabo.
Inspiring. Honorable. Dedicated. That’s how CTA President Dean E Vogel described CTA’s 2013 Human Rights Award recipients. They were honored by some 400 colleagues during last month’s Equity and Human Rights Conference for their efforts in fighting discrimination and championing respect for individual differences. Conference attendees also heard from national and state experts on issues ranging from countering campus bullying and developing cultural competency skills to exploring the effects of unconscious bias in social relationships.
Read more about the honorees at www.cta.org/2013hrawardswinners.
Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded. Here are the CTA members who went the extra mile…
Jorge Salas, Travis Unified Teachers Association — César Chávez “Sí Se Puede” Award.
Salas developed his school’s successful Latinos Unidos Club for Education (LUCE) and uses local role models, university tours and peer tutoring to foster academic excellence. Graduates return to mentor the 40 students taking part in the club.
April Carmelo, Shasta Secondary Education Association — Jim Clark American Indian/Alaska Native Award.
Carmelo, a member of the Greenville Rancheria Maidu tribe, and her son were threatened with a shotgun in August 2012 by white supremacists in Shasta Lake. When no charges were filed, she made presentations at city council meetings against hate crimes and racism. She is working to establish a human rights commission.
Vallejo Education Association (VEA) — CTA Chapter Human Rights Award.
VEA members donate and distribute school supplies for more than 2,000 students as part of their “Helping Hands” project, for which they’ve spent about $10,000 of their dues each of the last four years. VEA President Christal Watts and colleagues work with the public library to provide books for local families.
Caroline Kris, San Ramon Valley Education Association — Physically/Mentally Challenged Students’ Issues Award.
Kris created materials and activities that connect general education and special education students using “people first” language, which teaches students to communicate with one another using words that reflect what they have in common, rather than labels that refer to their differences.
Gary Leveque, San Ramon Valley Education Association — CTA Member Human Rights Award.
Leveque started a video series called “Think Before You Speak,” which gives students a voice to stand up to bullies and was highlighted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. He produced concerts that raised more nearly $20,000 for water purification in Sri Lanka, Kidcare International, and African literacy.
Jenny Chomori, United Teachers Los Angeles, and Cliff Kusaba, Teachers Association of Long Beach — Pacific Asian American Award.
Chomori and Kusaba spent two years developing educational tools for a successful conference, held at the WWII relocation camp, about the Manzanar experience. Attendees are using the tools and resources in their classrooms.
Kathleen Minck, Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association — Peace and Justice Award.
Minck raises student awareness on issues of justice for children by partnering with international agencies to raise funds for childhood poverty in the Philippines and to build a school in Kenya, to name just two. Her fifth-graders raised $500 for postage to send boxes of surplus books to the school in Kenya.
Vanessa Perez, Hart District Teachers Association — Nancy Bailey Leadership in Lesbian and Gay Issues Award.
Perez is a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) adviser. Her students created a video about tolerance and acceptance, “I Want to Know What It’s Like,” which received national attention on YouTube and from the Huffington Post.
Pat Sabo, Healdsburg Area Teachers Association — Women’s Issues Award.
For more than 30 years, Sabo has inspired local women and girls with her teaching and training in leadership skills, educational programs, women’s history, and her greater political work. Her students recently raised funds to build two homes through Habitat for Humanity, and every June she takes eighth-graders on a field trip to Washington, D.C.
Katherine Jordan, Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association — Lois Tinson Award.
Jordan has taught her very young students about Martin Luther King Jr., César Chávez and Abraham Lincoln for three decades. Her pre-K students take part in local parades celebrating black history, Cinco de Mayo and military veterans.
San Gorgonio Service Center Council — CTA Service Center Council Human Rights Award.
The Council, noted for outstanding human rights training and intensive ethnic minority leadership development programs, serves members in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Community partnerships in the region have increased because of the Council’s advocacy.
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