Saturday, July 18, 2015

What I Learned at My First NEA RA Assembly!-July 2015

NEA stands for the National Education Association.

RA stands for Representative Assembly.

I attended my 1st NEA Representative Assembly as a delegate. What an amazing experience!

Update: I am at my 3rd NEA RA, still trying to make a difference.

My observations:

  • One of the delegates spoke about using the words of the oppressor. How many times do we, as educators, use the words, "the union", as if it is not "our union?" WE are the union. WE are what makes up the union. When we address the union as " the union", we are giving others the message that we are not part of it, that it is a separate entity. What does Chris Christie say every time he opens his mouth about educators? "The union..."

  • If you don't like what your union is doing, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard. I sat in a convention hall with about 10,000 educators who were doing just that, raising their voices. We supported an item, or we didn't. Delegates, including one of my own state, wrote items that they felt were important to us all. Some were supported, and some weren't. Instead of standing in a hallway, or sitting in the Teacher's Lounge, denouncing the union, (I know, I've done it), ask how you can become a delegate.Move up from delegate and sit on your executive committee, or even the National committee.

  • People of color and women need to be involved in our union. Shout-out to Eric Brown and Shelly Moore who were elected to the Executive Committee! There were more people of color present this year than any other year! If we want our issues that are hurting people of color heard, then we have to be there creating items against social injustice, pushing an agenda that includes hiring more teachers of color, and combating institutional racism. The wonderful part is it was not just people of color pushing, or supporting, these items!

  • Social media works! What happens when thousands of educators gather, and they are using Facebook, Twitter, and emails to contact their government officials? What happens when these messages are shared over and over by people outside of the convention, and they contact our officials? Change happens!

  • It is not a vacation. I was thinking, "Yes, I'm going to Orlando!: I woke up at 5:45 a.m and saw the inside of the hotel and convention hall until late in the evening. By the time, we left, I was exhausted. (No complaints, we were getting things done!)

  • @Lily-NEA rocks!  This was also her first RA as President, and I think  she did a wonderful job! As a matter of fact, those women in positions of leadership, rocked!:)
Update: These 3 ladies were elected to serve 3 year terms again.
  • We are a powerful union. That's why the Scott Walkers, Koch brothers, and Chris Christies despise us. A delegate questioned why Papa Johns, who is not a friend of unions because of the way they treat their employees, was allowed to be a vendor at the conference. Many delegates responded by not spending their money there. Item supported, don't hire vendors with horrible labor practices to an union event!

  • Educators are being besieged all over the country. We connected while waiting. Waiting to catch the bus to the hotel, waiting to get food, waiting for the registration line to open. Wherever we waited, wherever we stopped, we connected, and talked about what was happening in our states. Educators, we are under attack!
Update: Donald Trump and Besty DeVos.

  • I read a Facebook comment reacting to one of the many evils that are being done to educators. It said, "Teachers are sheep." We don't have to be.

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