The NEA RA was lead by our phenomenal President Lily Eskelsen Garcia who stood strong as delegates convened a week after the ruling of Janus v. AFSCME. She and the executive board organized an amazing RA that rallied and energized delegates as we discussed many constitutional and new business items.
Many teachers and student activists spoke for those whose voices are not heard.
Some of the common themes were those of resilience of communities that were traumatized by gun violence on school campuses as well as for the harsh treatment of families who were immigrating across the US borders only to be ripped apart from their children. Messages were given by those such as our 2018 NEA RA Teacher of the year, Mandy Manning, who teaches newcomer immigrants and refugee students. When visiting the White House she delivered written messages from her students who expressed concerned with the political climate. Two of her students then spoke on how Ms. Manning inspired them.
Other speakers such as David Hogg, a student who survived the Parkland School shooting, delivered an inspiring speech on the need for this generation to show up and vote to make changes in the political atmosphere. To hear from teachers and educators who lived through the nightmare of not only seeing their students die, but to witness a student kill their classmates, present new business items was another interesting part of the RA.
The delegates discussed and voted on 129 new business items, policy statements, resolutions, and legislative items that govern our National Education Association.
The RA was closed out the with #RedforEd campaign to protect public education and funding from those such as the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who are ready to take away from public education budgets, teachers rights, wages and to better school conditions. Educators in many states have marched to their capital and make their voices heard and message know to their governing bodies.