Topic: Civil Rights

Article racial justice
Latina dancing with words Hispanic Heritage Month CFT

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at school and home
Honoring Latinx history and achievement September 15 to October 15

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year to recognize and celebrate the contributions, diverse cultures, and histories of the American Latino community. With California’s Latino population continuing to grow, and to make up nearly 40% of the state, it’s particularly important to recognize accomplishments and history. In fact, two of the state’s most iconic labor leaders, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, the founders of the United Farm Workers, are Latino.

Article LGBTQ+
Pride Progress Flag

Celebrate Pride Month at school and home
Our curated collection celebrates LGBTQ+ individuals and activism

Early in the morning of June 28,1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, a place where gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people gathered. Police officers entered the club, roughed up patrons and arrested 13 people, including employees and people violating the state’s gender-appropriate clothing statute.

Article racial justice
AAPI Heritage Month

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month at school and home
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, during the beginning of the California Gold Rush. It also marks the anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks that connected the frontier to the rest of the country were Chinese immigrants.

Article State Council resolutions
California Attorney General Rob BontaCFT President Jeff Freitas talked about the union's priorities.CFT Senior Vice President Lacy BarnesSteve McDougall, Salinas Valley Federation of TeachersTobin KellerKelly MayhewIngrid GunnellBea HerreraKelsey Iino

State Council inspired by Attorney General Rob Bonta, passes six resolutions
Recruiting more education workers, healthcare for part-time faculty, climate justice top agenda

California Attorney General Rob Bonta kicked off the State Council meeting on Saturday morning, March 19. After an introduction by CFT President Jeff Freitas who talked about Bonta’s commitment to going after people who use their power to harm others, demanding corporate accountability, and fighting for public education, Bonta came on stage.

He talked about how the encouragement and support of staff, coaches and teachers had made it possible for him to go to college and then to law school.

Article racial justice Leadership Conference
Bill PritchettOne on one discussions during workshopOne on one discussions during workshopOne on one discussions during workshop

Dismantling male supremacy and white supremacy
Workshop takes a deep dive into building healthy workplace cultures

Bill Pritchett, a specialist in racial justice, communications, and leadership development, and who guided CFT’s Racial Equity Task Force, began his workshop on “Dismantling the Intersections of Male Supremacy Culture and White Supremacy Culture in Our Workplaces” (whew, tall order) by talking about how impressed he is with CFT’s commitment to racial justice.

Sandra GuzmanBelinda BlumImmigration attorney Leis Rodriguez

Members support and mentor undocumented students
Dedicated educators help students succeed and thrive

For Belinda Lum, sociology professor at Sacramento City College and chief negotiator for the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, it was because she’s the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of people who came over from China with fake papers. For Leis Rodriguez, it was wanting to use her law school degree for her passion and becoming an immigration attorney.

Article racial justice Leadership Conference
Lena AckermanBethany Gizzi

How implicit bias can lead to injustice
Members explore implicit bias and its effects

Implicit bias can lead to injustice in many areas of our lives, including housing, education, employment, the courts, and healthcare. We all have implicit biases — or preferences and attitudes that subconsciously can affect how we interact with others, said Bethany Gizzi, and Lena Ackerman, trainers in the “Understanding Implicit Bias and Stereotypes” workshop at the CFT Leadership Conference held March 17-18.

Article Leadership Conference racial justice SPI AFT
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond nd with membersState Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony ThurmondndCFT Secretary Treasurer Luukia SmithAFT President Randi Weingarten zoomed in from the strike lines in Minneapolis.JEDI Organizer Cynthia Eaton

Leadership Conference focuses on racial and social justice
Thurmond, Weingarten address delegates

About 200 CFT members from around the state converged at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency for a Leadership Conference — the first time they’d been able to join together for such an event since the state shut down for COVID on March 13, 2020.

Seeming excited to see one another in person, attendees went to workshops, many dealing with racial and social justice issues, and heard from speakers including JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Organizer Cynthia Eaton, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Article Up Front racial justice LGBTQ+

Stand up to defend free thought, honest history, and gender identity
Right-wing targets schools and colleges across the nation

By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President

When I decided to become a teacher, I was focused on helping students and meeting them where they are. I became a mathematics teacher — slopes, quadratic equations, fractions, square roots and all. But I entered into the profession because I was interested in who my students are as people, not just in class. I wanted to understand their hopes and dreams and help them become the people they wanted to be.

Article

Why is Trouble in the Henhouse our  #1 bestselling curricula?
Curricula Review

Trouble in the Hen House

Trouble in the Henhouse
By Phyllis Chiu
Illustrated by Jos Sances
2002, 22 pp
Grades: K-5

By Bill Morgan

One of the real classics of social justice books for kids was written by our own Phyllis Chiu, who was at the time an elementary teacher in Los Angeles. Chiu was also a member of the CFT Labor in the Schools Committee, which has produced a bumper crop of labor (and now climate justice) materials for progressive-minded teachers to use with their classes. The name of Chiu’s booklet is Trouble in the Henhouse, and among all of the committee’s publications, it is the #1 bestseller.

Article gender equity LGBTQ+
Women's History Month

Celebrate Women’s History Month at school and home
March is Women's History Month

Women’s History Month provides us an opportunity to remind ourselves of women’s contributions to our culture and society and reflect on women who have fought for change in labor, education, science, the arts, and politics. Use the CFT’s curated collection to find lesson plans for your classroom and inspiration for your union, home, and beyond.

Article racial justice Black Lives Matter

Ways to honor Black History Month at school and home
February is Black History Month

On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved a joint resolution to submit the proposed 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, to the state legislatures. While the history of Black Americans involves so much more than slavery, it is imperative that students fully understand the institution of slavery, its dissolution and the aftermath in order to understand today’s racial inequity.

We have compiled some meaningful collections of resources for Black History Month. These resources may be of interest to educators in the classroom, unions, and families and communities.

Article
For All Para Todos book cover

Teaching social justice and labor history: A how-to for K-12 educators
Kids' Book Reviews

Reviews by Bill Morgan

It used to be hard to find quality non-fiction, especially history, for kids. It was dumbed-down, or poorly formatted, or biased, or written in dry adultese, or some combination of these. Thankfully, that has changed.

A new generation of high-interest, attractively packaged kids’ books dealing with social justice issues and using leveled vocabulary are now available. This is a group of some of the best recent ones that I have used in my years teaching social studies for social justice.

Article resolutions
The memorial to Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, ArmeniaPeople in New York gather around 100th anniversary memorial to Armenian Genocide in 2015

CFT resolution recognizes Armenian Genocide
Find classroom resources to teach about the genocide

During World War I, the Ottoman Turks carried out one of the largest genocides in the world’s history, massacring 1.5 million Armenians. Turkey continues to deny the genocide, but the U.S. Congress passed a resolution to recognize it in 2019.

This spring United Teachers Los Angeles, in conjunction with the CFT Civil, Human, and Women’s Rights Committee, brought a resolution before CFT Convention calling for the state federation to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide and commit to sharing resources for teaching about it in the classroom. The Executive Council passed the resolution on June 12.

Article CFT Convention racial justice

Khalil Gibran Muhammad on racial justice
“Good will is not a substitute for good work”

A history professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, who teaches classes such as Race, Inequality, and American Democracy and the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, with his work featured in the New York Times’ 1619 Project, and Ava DuVernay’s documentary about mass incarceration, 13th, Khalil Gibran Muhammad s

Article coronavirus

New working groups align UC-AFT with nationwide racial justice efforts
Hardship fund helps members in need due to pandemic, wildfires

By Mia McIver, UC-AFT President 

Contingent teaching faculty and librarians at the University of California recently voted to create three new working groups to combat racism and support each other with mutual aid. With the firm conviction that Black Lives Matter, UC-AFT members aim to align our union’s efforts with those of activists fighting for racial justice nationwide.

“Let’s have our voices count!” urge CFT Black leaders
Avalanche of protests call for racial justice following murder of George Floyd

For days, hundreds of thousands of people have filled the streets of 160 cities across the country, even during the coronavirus pandemic, expressing their outrage and grief at the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Two Black leaders of the CFT, with long histories of fighting for racial equity, say they could not help being profoundly moved by the murder itself, and the outpouring of rage in response.

Article coronavirus immigration DACA

Undocumented students more vulnerable than ever during pandemic
How faculty can make a difference

By Jessica Silver-Sharp, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers

When I first wrote about undocumented students in October 2017, I couldn’t have foreseen how things could change so much in less than three years. Two out of three of our campus Dream Centers in the San Mateo Community College District were established during this time when young “Dreamers” were forming a national youth movement and “coming out” across the country. Then, a majority of the hundreds of undocumented students on campus enjoyed legal protections under DACA.

Article CalPERS privatization

CalPERS bails out of private prisons
Drops $12 million investment in GEO Group and CoreCivic

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, recently rattled the cages of the for-profit prison industry by divesting nearly $10 million of stock in the country’s two biggest private jailers.

The August sell-off came on the heels of the California State Teachers Retirement System, CalSTRS, dropping its $12 million investment in GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly known as the Corrections Corporation of America).