California Educator

December/January 2019

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Page 52 of 67

A S I G N T H A T S A Y S "Work hard and be kind" is dis- played prominently in Joe Boyd's office. The maxim ties into advice he received as a labor organizer that still guides his approach today : Don't take yourself too seriously, take the people around you very seriously, but remember that everyone's got their own issues. "It's given me the ability to give a lot of leeway to peo- ple," says Boyd, who began his term as CTA's executive director Nov. 1. "We're all imperfect, but we're all trying to work together to make things better." A former educator and son and grandson of public school teachers, Boyd has been helping people and groups organize around issues they care about for more than 30 years — 23 of them with CTA. In the early 1990s, he headed United Teachers of Richmond, helping the chapter in the wake of a state-imposed receivership. He went on to work with rural, suburban and urban locals across the state, handling political campaigns, negotia- tions and other advocacy efforts. In 2008, he served as executive director for the Teachers Association of Long Beach, which was then in receivership. Boyd left CTA to found his own advocacy and organiz- ing firm in 2014. In 2016 he became executive director of the California Federation of Teachers. Now back "home," Boyd is in charge of CTA's day-to- day operations, including management of 400 employees and oversight of more than 1,000 local affiliates. As we chatted with him, he shared that he's excited to work with members, leaders and staff at a critical time for public education. What's on your plate right now? The Schools and Communities First (SCF) campaign [the 2020 ballot initiative that would bring in $12 billion annually for education and basic community services]. It addresses the issue of funding that we've wanted to tackle for as long as I remember. We need corporations to start paying their fair share while protecting residen- tial taxpayers, agriculture, small businesses. at's the big focus. We're going to get outspent. e only way we can fight back is to out-organize, to organize our mem- bers and our communities. SCF is part of a longer push to put our schools back to where they should be in terms of funding, to make that structural change. The power we build through organizing our union for this will serve us well beyond November. It's the fight to have lower class sizes, to have nurses, to have arts and music and sports programs that are funded, to have good technology. is is the start of structural support, not only for our schools but for our communities. SCF deals with all the pieces in commu- nities that are important. How about longer-term? We need to provide every student with the support, the balance they need — in math, reading, sports, every- thing. Sometimes that's getting a meal, sometimes it's getting into Berkeley, sometimes it's both. Schools are at the center of that. at makes what we do the center, the core, and the place to build out and create under- standing with voters and our communities about why our schools are so important. What made you an activist? I 'd always been an activist living in the co-ops while at UC Berkeley and in Ecuador, where I worked with Amigos de las Americas helping a community fight a high rate of dysenter y. I learned basic Meet Joe Boyd Longtime activist and organizer returns to CTA as executive director 51 D E C E M B E R 2 019 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 C

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