California Educator

April 2015

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C O M P A S S I O N A T E A N D D E D I C A T E D educators from across California are winners of CTA's Human Rights Awards for their outstanding dedication to promoting and pro- tecting human and civil rights. "The sense of justice and community of these educa- tors inspires them to go out and make a huge difference in the lives of their students," said CTA President Dean E. Vogel, presenting the awards at the CTA Equity and Human Rights Conference. Read more about these exemplary educators at CTA members honored for transforming communities, students by Mike Myslinski Rafael Velazquez Cardenas, Hayward Education Association, created a curriculum about the Latino history and culture based on students' needs. A born organizer, he involved parents and encouraged them to join his district's English Learner Advisory Committee and parent center, where they became more active in their children's education, regardless of their own ability to speak English. Michelle S. Johnson, Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association, is the second African American president of her chapter and its youngest. She actively engages the Bakersfield community in literacy activities such as Read Across America, and in community picnics, building partnerships for all students and educators. Thanh Nguyen, Garden Grove Education Association, in 1992 helped found a nonprofit, SAP-VN (Social Assistance Program for Vietnam), that still provides children with orthopedic and cataract surgeries, wheelchairs, free meals and other support. Nguyen does fundraising, obtains donations of medical supplies, and travels to Vietnam annually to visit children who have received help from his program and see their progress. Eleanor Evans, San Diego Education Association, served in many capacities in various ethnically diverse and LGBTQ organizations, and has been a strong voice bridging ethnic minority and LGBTQ issues. Thanks to her efforts to create a positive bond between CTA and the local NAACP, more than 500 school supply bags were distributed to students in kindergarten through college. Big Pine Educators Association (Inyo County) partnered with the district and the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley to raise funds to establish an Alice Piper memorial statue. Native Americans were denied the right to attend public schools until the California Supreme Court ruled in Piper's favor in the landmark case Piper v. Big Pine School District. BPEA President Peter Schlieker accepted the award. Tim Steele, Big Pine Educators Association, found a novel way to engage his students in the Common Core State Standards. About half of his students were Native American, so he focused on Alice Piper and six other Native American students who in the 1920s were denied access to the local Big Pine High School. The state Supreme Court in 1924 ruled in favor of Piper and the students. Steele's students researched and sought out community members who knew Piper, and came to understand the important history of Native American education rights in California. Rebecca Harper, San Bernardino Teachers Association, fought on behalf of a Filipina teacher who was one of several recruited and hired from the Philippines, where she had been teaching for 24 years. She was fired in the middle of her first year of teaching and had no means of returning home to her family. Harper helped her complete her contract year, and she is successfully teaching in New York City. Susan Green, California Faculty Association, CSU Chico, made the history of the United Farm Workers come alive by securing visits for students with Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the UFW with César Chávez. A tireless advocate for educators and unions, Green has testified many times on legislation in Sacramento concerning disadvantaged students, public education, immigrants and unionists. Standing: Rebecca Harper, Thanh Nguyen, CTA Secretary- Treasurer Mikki Cichocki, President Dean Vogel, Vice President Eric Heins, Maria del Socorro Velazquez (accepting for Rafael Velazquez Cardenas), and Eleanor Evans. Seated: Michelle S. Johnson, Susan Green, Peter Schlieker, and Tim Steele. 2015 CTA Human Rights Award winners CTA & You Awards 50

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