California Educator

February/March 2021

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C H A Z G A R C I A h a d n e v er h eard of C TA's Ethni c Minority Early Identification and Development (EMEID) program when a leader at her chapter, Oakland Educa- tion Assocation, asked her to apply seven years ago. In fact, even though she was a rising OE A leader herself, she had limited knowledge of CTA. But she was intrigued, so she applied and was accepted. Her year in the program, which helps m emb ers of c o lor bro ad en th eir k n o w l e d g e o f C TA a n d e x p l o r e possible roles in leadership, was life-changing. "I'm very grateful I had the oppor- tunity to go on thi s journ e y and connect with other educators," says Garcia, who became EMEID chair in early 2020 and serves as OEA's 2nd vice president and bargaining chair. "Our cohort learned a lot from each other and created lifelong bonds and a support system." For ethnic minority members who had previously nav- igated their lives and careers in isolation, much of their support stemmed from discovering that they weren't alone. "I was going through my life and work as one of the only women of color, not being able to have people to relate to in my journey," recalls Garcia, now in her 26th year as an educator. "I'm grateful I had the opportunity to go on the EMEID journey. Our cohort learned a lot from each other and created lifelong bonds and a support system." Learning Leadership Chaz Garcia is EMEID's biggest booster EMEID also offered other valuable growth experiences, as it builds on existing CTA/NEA programs, trainings, conferences and events, and incorporates coaching and interaction with CTA leadership. "I appreci- ated my EMEID mentor, going to State Council, connecting with others in different levels of leadership," Garcia says. G a r c i a h a s b e c o m e a t i re l e s s a dv o c a t e f o r racial equity, both within CTA and in the larger w o rl d . S h e i s n o w a m e m b e r of C TA's R a c i a l Equity Steering Committee and the Racial and Social Justice Advisory Committee, both of which work toward an inclusive CTA that involves and empowers its members. As EMEID chair, she leads the EMEID workgroup and has ambitious plans to expand the program's reach and touch more members of color. For exam- ple, she'd like to bring in past EMEID participants to serve as mentors to current participants and provide an additional layer of support. "e ability of folks of color to grow and navigate through the educa- tion world is a little challenged if others [who mentor them] don't have the same experiences and journey," she says. "Past participants have hindsight and experience and can provide coaching." She also wants to reach those turned away from EMEID because of capacity issues. " We could create some sort of structure or network that is beneficial for everyone, that gets everyone engaged and lets us support each other in, for instance, different campaigns on an organizing level." Garcia's journey, boosted by the EMEID program, continues. CTA's EMEID Program F I N D M O R E I N F O R M A T I O N and apply for EMEID 2021-22 online at; deadline is April 9. Applicants will be notified by May 14. Participants begin in June and finish 12 months later. They must commit to attending the Emerging Leaders strand at CTA's Summer Institute, July 25-29, and January State Council, Jan. 11-12, 2022. Chaz Garcia (with dog Barkley), wearing a shirt made for her by a former third grade student. 17 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 21 Spotlight

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