California Educator

April/May 2020

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Human Rights Award in Honor of Lois Tinson ERIKA JONES United Teachers Los Angeles Elementary school teacher and civil rights advocate Erika Jones is serving her second term on the CTA Board of Directors. At UTLA, she served on the board, the House of Representa- tives, and other roles. She was a CTA State Council delegate for five years, during which she chaired the Civil Rights in Education Committee, and was an alternate to the NEA Board of Directors. Jones was also part of the workgroup that developed CTA's long-term strategic plan around goals of organizing, advocacy, community engagement and social justice. Jones was the only public school educator on the state superinten- dent of public instruction's Charter Task Force. Her advocacy helped shape Assembly Bills 1505 and 1507, which significantly raise charter school accountability. For school trainings, she has been instrumental in creating a Black Lives Matter curriculum, which has reached more than 3,000 educators nationwide, and even more students. She also regularly lobbies elected leaders in Los Angeles, as well as Sacramento and Washington, D.C. (Lois Tinson was CTA's first African American/ethnic minority president.) Human Rights Award for LGBTQ+ Advocacy in Honor of Nancy Bailey JOEL LAGUNA United Teachers Los Angeles Joel Laguna is dedicated to working to support youth who identify as members of the LGBTQ2+ commu- nity.* He has been a GSA adviser for 10 years and leads one of the few GSAs at the middle school level in LAUSD. At his school site, he has facilitated "ally weeks" and "day of pink antibullying campaigns" to sup- port LGBTQ2+ children and to foster support from their peers. He has organized Trans Lives Matter protests at his school, as well as Harvey Milk days of service. Laguna threw the first LGBTQ2+ prom in East LA. As a member of the UTLA Equity Team, he is one of two LGBTQ2+ advocacy coordinators, and orga- nized "The Rainbow Social" on National Coming Out Day. The event brought together more than 70 teachers who identify as LGBTQ2+ or allies, to build a supportive commu- nity within the union. (Nancy Bailey was the founder of CTA's Gay and Lesbian Caucus.) *The 2 in LGBTQ2+ is for "Two-Spirit," a Native American term to describe people who fulfill a traditional alternative-gender role in their culture. Students With Exceptional Needs Human Rights Award ANNE ALVAREZ Unified Association of Conejo Teachers Anne Alvarez is driving positive change for the special education community at Newbury Park High School, the district and the larger community. Her work to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities includes organizing Unified Sports at her school, which brings together students with and without special needs on athletic teams that compete with other schools . The effort involves the whole school, from student-designed uniforms to a combined general ed and special ed cheer squad. Because of Unified Sports, some students with special needs are invited to be on the "regular" football, swim and wrestling teams. "Coaches see that they're not just standing there, but they have abilities. The kids feel like they're part of the school, and others feel like they are a part of the school," Alvarez says. Newbury Park High has been acclaimed as a Special Olympics Uni- fied Champion School for promoting inclusion through sports and activi- ties three years in a row. Alvarez has organized the Special Olympics at her school for the past seven years, and involves the entire community. engagement has partnered with and promoted over a dozen events this year alone, increasing CTA's visibility in the county, most notably by collecting and giving away books to children. Another event included a session on the dangers of white nationalism and how to spot and stop it in our schools. SDCSCC has created effective teaching materials reflecting the value of diversity, and promoted human rights through its trainings and programs. It has worked to educate students, members and community about extremism and its threat to human and civil rights, to eliminate stereotyping in the curricula, and to foster inclusivity and family-school-community partnerships. 45 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0 C

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