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By Julian Peeples

Organizing is key to defending public schools, supporting our students and standing up for honesty in education, CTA President E. Toby Boyd said to CTA State Council of Education during its first meeting of the school year this weekend.

“Our greatest resource is each other,” Boyd said as part of his report to State Council.

Organizing was an ongoing theme of the meeting, whether to build power and fight for equity or win at the bargaining table. The first State Council meeting of his final year as president of the 310,000-member strong union, Boyd delivered a rousing report to the near-800 educators in attendance – bringing them to their feet as he underscored some of CTA’s values.

“CTA fights for immigrant rights and for DACA. We stand for Black Lives. Black. Lives. Matter. We stand against Asian Hate,” Boyd said. “We fight for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion, so that each one of our students and educators have an overall sense of safety and support in our schools. We have zero tolerance for bullying, harassment and hate speech.”

In that vein, CTA State Council unanimously called on Los Angeles City Council members Kevin de Léon and Gil Cedillo to resign immediately for their racist and anti-black comments during a discussion with other Los Angeles officials, who have since resigned. De Léon and Cedillo have refused to step down, despite repeated calls from constituents, community leaders and elected officials at every level all the way up to President Joe Biden.

“Our communities are hurting,” Boyd said. “It’s during these difficult moments that we look to elected leaders for support and comfort and yet, in this case, we are met with politicians who care more about themselves than the well-being of the community,”

 

Get Out the Vote

Victory on Election Day was on the minds of educators at State Council, with efforts ongoing to get out the vote for good propositions, to defeat bad ones, and to elect candidates who understand the value of public education. State Council members participated in a very successful member-to-member texting campaign to spread the word about No on Prop. 30 that saw one member text more than 20,000 fellow CTA educators during the weekend. Be sure to visit CTA’s Election 2022 home for information on all the candidates and propositions, shareables and even a customized voter guide featuring recommendations for education-friendly candidates on your ballot.

State Council also approved spending up to $3 million to support CTA’s positions on statewide initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The CTA American Indian / Alaskan Native Caucus reception featured a presentation on Native American art.

Honors and Observances

There were a number of special presentations and observations during the weekend, including a reception by the CTA American Indian / Alaskan Native Caucus honoring California Indian education and culture. State Council members also acknowledged Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a touching presentation and paid homage to former United Farm Workers Organizing Director Fred Ross Sr., who trained generations of organizers including César Chávez and Dolores Huerta.

“Fred Ross Sr. changed my life,” Huerta said previously of Ross. “He inspired and taught me how to organize. He had so much faith in the power of ordinary people to make history.”

Members of the CTA Board of Directors hug after an emotional presentation on Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

State Council also elected leaders this weekend:

  • VanCedric Williams, a social and ethnic studies teacher from United Educators of San Francisco, was elected to the CTA Board of Directors, District A, to complete an unexpired term ending in June 2023.
  • Erika Zamora, a school counselor from Alvord Educators Association, was elected to the NEA Board of Directors, District 13, to a term expiring Aug. 31, 2025.

CTA State Council will next meet on Jan. 27-29, 2023 in Los Angeles.

 

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