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Nurses Congratulate L.A. Teachers on Huge Victory Reached Through Collective Action, Worker Solidarity

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Registered nurses with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) applaud news that—as the result of a historic strike—30,000 educators represented by United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) have reached an agreement, ratified in voting Tuesday night, with the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD).

“This is a huge victory for the children, families and hardworking teachers of Los Angeles. The courageous teachers and community supporters have proven that when working people stand together, they can move mountains,” said CNA/NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, citing the L.A. strike as the latest example, along with a wave of historic teachers strikes in 2018, of workers rising up in collective opposition to corporate attacks and the defunding and corporate privatization of our public institutions— in this case, our public education system.

“No one has taken advocacy to the streets of America in the past year the way the teachers have done, from West Virginia to Los Angeles. We are so proud of what our UTLA sisters and brothers have accomplished through their solidarity, and their unwavering demand for justice, in the face of corporate greed,” said Castillo.

Nurses say they especially congratulate teachers on winning a reduction in class sizes.

“Teachers cannot do their job when they are overloaded with students. Nurses had to fight hard in California to win our own safe staffing protections—and are still fighting at the national level, so we are very pleased to see this particular win,” said Castillo. “Students deserve to learn in conditions where teachers are able to give them the attention, time, energy and resources to help them flourish.”

RNs also cheer news that the agreement includes the hiring of nurses, to provide a full-time nurse at every school, five days a week.

“Nurses know that when kids are not healthy, they’re not able to learn,” said Castillo. “Students today show up at school with a wide variety of complex and serious health conditions—especially since many of them may not have adequate health care outside of school. It is imperative that a nurse be on site to care for them.”

CNA/NNU registered nurses have voiced support for the teachers throughout the strike, which began January 14. RNs say they shared educators’ concern that with a pro-charter school majority on the LAUSD board, and pro-charter businessman Austin Beutner acting as superintendent, equal opportunity to education was impossible.

“The effort of billionaires to erode the public education system and push public resources to charter schools is a blatant attack on our democracy. Los Angeles teachers said, ‘Enough is enough!’—and took a huge stand for public schools, which serve high numbers of children of color and low-income children. What they have accomplished is a victory for equality in society,and for quality education for all,” said Castillo.

“Social determinants, such as the educational opportunities or level of schooling a person receives, greatly influence the health of our patients. So nurses thank the teachers for their righteous fight, which is a win for a healthier society. We want the teachers to know the nurses will continue standing with them to protect education as a public good—today, tomorrow and always.”

Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates Birthday at Mills College

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.

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Maurice Arnold with Rep. Barbara Lee at a birthday party on the Mills College campus.

On July 24, Congresswoman Barbara Lee returned to her alma mater, Mills College, for a dual engagement.  As the guest of honor, she conducted a local meet-and-greet among special guests, friends and supporters and she also belatedly celebrated her belated, which was on July 6.

Mills College Lokey School of Business and Public Policy hosted the event for Lee.  The   special guests included Oakland’s Councilmember Treva Reid, District 7; BART Boardmember, Lateefah Simon, District 7, Candidate Mia Bonta, AD-18, Post Newspaper Group Publisher Paul Cobb and many more.

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.  Her political future was decisively shaped when she took a government course that required her to participate in a presidential campaign. “I invited Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak at Mills, and learned that she was running for president,” Lee recalls. “I helped organize her Northern California campaign, and I registered to vote for the first time . . . and the rest is history.”

Whether standing alone as the sole congressional vote against a blank check for endless war, authoring legislation on ending the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, or representing the U.S. House of Representatives in the United Nations General Assembly, Lee carries her Mills education with her. “Mills instilled me with the confidence I needed to achieve my goals,” she says.

Accordingly, we say happy belated birthday and much success to Team Barbara.

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Community

Congratulations to Michelle Mack

Nominated for Teacher of the Year

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Photo courtesy Michelle Mack

Congratulations to Michelle Mack, currently a pre-K lead teacher in Atlanta, Ga., who was nominated for Teacher of the Year. A 2008 graduate of St. Elizabeth’s High School who earned a degree in child psychology from San Francisco State University in 2012, Mack received her master’s from Clark University in 2015.

Mack was recognized by the Easter Seals of North Georgia (ESNG) for “serving five consistent years teaching children and helping families with the same company” and awarded the ESNG-Guice Center Award for Individual Excellence.

 

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Activism

Young Adults Speak Out at Climate Adaptation Seminar

The Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), is conducting a series of seminars entitled “Building an Inclusive and Equitable Adaptation Movement.”  Their recent seminar, held on July 20, focused on the youth and how they could be more recognized and  represented in the climate adaptation space.

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From top left: Tianna Shaw-Wakeman, Skyler Kriese, Moiz Mir, Catherine Foster (Photo by Godfrey Lee)

The Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), is conducting a series of seminars entitled “Building an Inclusive and Equitable Adaptation Movement.”  Their recent seminar, held on July 20, focused on the youth and how they could be more recognized and  represented in the climate adaptation space.
ARCCA is a coalition of the Local Government Commission and represents leading collaborative networks from across California that strive to build regional resilience to climate impacts.  ARCCA members work to enhance public health, protect natural systems, build economies, and create resilient, livable communities throughout California. 

ARCCA members effectively bolster their individual and collective efforts by sharing best practices and resources, identifying strategies to overcome key barriers and challenges, and conducting joint campaigns and projects.

ARCCA believes that the youth have been under-represented in the climate initiative. “It has become more apparent over the years that the youth, with their activism and experience, can have a pivotal role to play in our adaption to climate change. It is the goal of ARRCA, in their work in climate change, to expand the youth’s participation in their projects and actively include them in our leadership phases and decision-making processes,” said Catherine Foster, the moderator of the seminar, and ARCCA’s Climate & Energy Project manager, LGC.

Three college graduates who were involved in the environmental movement on their campuses spoke during the seminar.

Tianna Shaw-Wakeman holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California, and graduated as the first Black Valedictorian for the Class of 2021. She served and led many of the prominent campus environmental activism groups. “We all work with people who are different places, so recognize the gaps in your knowledge, and also what the other person does and does not know,” Wakeman said.

Skyler Kriese graduated from Santa Clara University in 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. She is a 2020-2021 CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow supporting Butte County Department of Development Services on three grant-funded, long-range planning projects. Following her service year, she will continue her studies at the University of Michigan, pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Justice and Environmental Policy and Planning.

Kriese says that local governments need to identify environment justice communities and address environmental justice in their general plans. This is important so that processes and policies can begin to work and ultimately create healthier communities. 

Moiz Mir was the president of the Environmental Student Organization at California State University Sacramento from 2017–2019. As an intern at the Sacramento Mayor’s Office, he organized youth summits to include students’ voices in the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change and served on the commission’s Community Health, Resiliency and Equity Technical Advisory Committees. 

Mir advocates building toward inclusivity, to reach out to a more diverse people in the work toward climate adaptation. 

For more information on ARCCA and their upcoming seminars, go to https://arccacalifornia.org/embedding-equity-in-adaptation/ 

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