Six Educators Awarded for Commitment to Social Justice at CTA’s Annual Human Rights Awards

BURLINGAME — Six inspiring and dedicated educators from across the state are this year’s winners of the annual California Teachers Association’s Human Rights Awards for their outstanding dedication to social justice, and for promoting and protecting human and civil rights.

“These awards honor our tireless social justice warriors who do community work beyond their classrooms. Their activism is an inspiration to all educators.”

— CTA President, E. Toby Boyd

Click here to view the videos of this year’s recipients.

Presented on February 29, 2020, at the CTA Equity and Human Rights Conference in Irvine, the CTA Human Rights Awards this year went to these exemplary educators:

EL CENTRO: Carmina Ramirez, Communications Chair for Associated Calexico Teachers, is the winner of the CTA Cesar Chavez “Sí Se Puede” Human Rights Award. Carmina advocates for and regularly visits migrant shelters in Mexicali to work with children and adults, conducting lessons to enhance their literacy and bilingual abilities. She also provides materials for children waiting to be processed into the U.S., so that they will have a head start, and she provides life-saving resources to migrants crossing the border during the harsh summer heat in our desert border community.

BONITA: Guillermo Gomez, an educator and member of the San Diego Education Association, is the winner of the CTA Peace and Justice Human Rights Award. Guillermo wrote the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for the California Department of Education as well as co-authored the model curriculum for Ethnic Studies for the San Diego Unified School District. These programs provide leadership at all levels, with more cultural awareness and understanding.

LOS ANGELES: Joel Laguna, an educator with the United Teachers of Los Angeles, is the winner of the Human Rights Award for LGBTQ+ Advocacy in Honor of Nancy Bailey. In his ten years of service in the field of public education, Joel Laguna has exhibited a relentless dedication to working to support youth who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. At his school site, Joel has facilitated “ally weeks” and a “pink anti-bullying campaign” to support children in the LGBTQ+ community and to foster support from peers for them. He also works with parents at his school, teaching them about the process of coming out for their children in order to best foster a loving and caring environment for children who courageously declare who they are.

LOS ANGELES: Erika Jones, an elementary teacher with the United Teachers of Los Angeles, is the winner of the Human Rights Award in Honor of Lois Tinson. She has taught for 13 years in the Los Angeles Unifies School District teaching kindergarten through 5th grade. She served as a delegate to the CTA State Council of Education for five years and chaired the Council’s Civil Rights in Education Committee. Erika was instrumental in creating a Black Lives Matter curriculum in school trainings that has reached more than 3,000 educators nationwide, and even more students.

 Jayson Chang, a teacher and member of the East Side Teachers Association, is the winner of the CTA Member Human Rights Award. As a high school social studies teacher, Jayson promotes racial and social justice through his curriculum which he always makes available to other educators on his website, The curriculum is organized by the day and challenges students to think about events and issues through a racial equity lens. In addition, Jayson serves as an adviser to multiple student clubs (some of which he helped to create). These clubs include the Future Business Leaders of America and Social Justice Society.

NEWBURY PARK: Anne Alvarez, a special ed teacher teacher with the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers, is the winner of the Students with Exceptional Needs Human Rights Award. She fights discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and has developed educational materials and curriculum for special education students, created curriculum activities for Special Abilities Awareness Week and Inclusion Week district wide, adapted Life Skills programs, and worked with issues related to physically/mentally challenged students. Anne is continuously advocating for her students in and out of the district by serving as a role model to inspire and promote the issues of physically/mentally challenged students.

In addition to honoring educators, CTA recognized the work of groups of members.

SAN DIEGO: The San Diego County Service Center Council (SDCSCC) is the winner of the CTA Service Center Council Human Rights Award. SDSCC has active committees that partner with other community organizations to support public education, fellow members, and the community. This past year, SDSCC Member Benefits tapped into CTA talent and partnered with community organizations and the University of California San Diego to create a series of social justice themed, day-long professional development symposiums in which members could earn a salary schedule credit.


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3-million-member National Education Association.