NEA-Retired Annual Meeting 2017

NEA-Retired Annual Meeting 2017

Marilyn Warner

 

This year the meetings were held in Boston.  Your delegates were Ulysses Floyd, Bonnie Smith, Ruby Strickland and me.  We enjoyed the business of the meetings and being together as we represented FEA-Retired.

 

NEA-Retired Annual Meeting

This was a two day meeting and everyone knew Florida was there!  Flamingos and palm trees decorated our table.


     

 

The three NEA Officers addressed the delegates.  President Lily Eskelson –Garcia spoke to us, saying, “We are talking about some really tough stuff.  We need to figure out how to lead our members through the brutality of the times. Trump and DeVos have cut many programs beneficial to all of us….We need to face the brutal realities with no blinders.  Finding a moderate Republican is like finding an unicorn in Congress…Our work is cut out for us.  We need to keep hope alive; we will leave here knowing how we will fight and how we are going to organize…You are not our past; you are our current inspiration. Students have a union to join because of the legacy retirees have built.  Retirees are here fighting with us.  Our country is in danger.  Everything we love about our freedoms is in danger.  God bless you for not going away.”

 

Princess Moss, NEA Secretary/Treasurer gave us good news that retired membership is up over 4,000 members since last year.  The three major priorities of the NEA budget are Racial Justice, Education Voice, and Educator Engagement.

 

Becky Pringle, NEA Vice-President, praised retirees saying, “How courageous it is that retirees have members who will advance the work of the organization.  We cannot let the nightmare of this administration continue…I ask of you: Continue to share your expertise and experience with other members.  Share with people at home.  Contact legislators.  Share your stories.  We must get the word out and educate others... Retirees play a pivotal role in NEA’s priorities.  I am inspired by the depth of commitment of retirees to take on the priorities of NEA.  We are doing what is right for students.  We have no choice; we must stand up and speak out for what we know is right…  NEA-Retired, you may stopped working, but your job is not done. We need you!”

 

Tom Curran, President of NEA-Retired, was term-limited this year.  In his address, he said, “The election is over.  You know what we have to do.  We have to fight harder than ever before.”  Tom mentioned Ulysses as one of Tom’s best friends and asked Ulysses to stand to be acknowledged.  He continued his speech saying, “I have made friends, best friends, with people all over the country.  Friendships are terribly important.  Keep that in mind as you meet new people…We must stick together to overcome the problems that lie ahead.”

 

Jim Testerman, Senior Director, NEA Center for Organizing, spoke about the M.O.R.E. program in Florida and how it has helped growth and involvement.  He also mentioned our retirees and their work with the New Education Campaign. 

 

This year, FEA-Retired donated $1000+ to the Jack Kinnaman Scholarship Fund which was one of the largest donations from states. The total collected for the Kinnaman Fund was $9.332.  This is used for scholarships to college students.

 

The NEA-Retired Distinguished Service award was given to Barbara Matteson from Arizona.  In her speech, she said “I know you are doing the work out there.  You are mentoring and serving and resisting the efforts to move our country in the wrong direction…We need to stand up and not give up.”

 

****Big News!!!!  FEA-Retired received an award as the runner-up for the largest percentage increase in   membership this year!!!

 

NEA-Retired Election Results

President                                                   Sarah Borgman

Executive Committee                        Julie Horwin, Bobbie Margo and Jon Paul Roden

Board of Directors                               Bob Hoffman and JoAnn Smith-Mashburn

Alternate Board                                     Barbara Schram, Cleorah Scruggs-Debose and Louise Watkins

Resolutions                                              Ron Dill, Sandra Hetley, Sid Karden, Theresa Kennedy, Ron Moss and

                                                                        Judy Rody

 

 

NEA Representative Assembly

What a thrill it is to walk in the RA!!  Over 10,000 educators were there to do the business of the union and to work together for what is best for our educators and students.

 

In her presidential message, Lily Eskelson-Garcia said, “The election is over and we must find ways to cooperate with this administration…I will not allow this organization to be used by Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos…We will find common ground with many Republicans and Democrats…We come into this room unafraid to face the brute reality.  The most important question is, ‘What are we going to do about it?’…we can win; we have power and they know it.  We are a threat to them.  They will try to silence us.  We are there to fight and we know the power of our mission…We give this world the American Dream. This is what democracy looks like.” 

 

Saul Ramos was chosen as the Education Support Professional of the Year.  He is a para-educator from Worchester, MA.   He was very passionate as he spoke about his profession, telling us, “It all began with hopes and dreams for my students…We don’t choose which students we work with.  ESP is the heart of education.  We do everything for the betterment of our students.  We don’t only change lives; we save lives. We are your connections to the students and parents.  We—teachers and ESP—must continue to work together for our students…When you have a calling, there is no stopping you.”

 

LeVar Burton was chosen as the Friend of Education for this year.  He said, “I do not believe you get the support nor the compensation or support for this job…I do not understand the thinking of this administration.  It seems to be punitive and puny.  It does not make sense to me…I believe that what you have to offer is essential to this nation…Unless we support you in the best way, we do not get this job done…If we are going to turn this around, we need to be advocates for ourselves.  We must make our voices heard…I love you; I love what you do.”

 

Lily Eskelson-Garcia, Becky Pringle and Princess Moss were reelected as NEA Officers.

 

New Business Items

More than 150 New Business Items were presented at the RA.  Some of the ones that passed were:

 

Advancing the rights of LGBTQ

Drafting legislation that can be used by every state to address concerns such as gerrymandering,

   reversing right to work and preserving pensions

NEA create articles and/or toolkits informing members of:

   Detrimental effects of student random searches

   Strong opposition to forced migration and deportations

   Successful practices by states and locals to recruit and retain minority educators

   Methods of creating outreach opportunities and building partnerships

   Combating hate speech and actions

   Foster school environment that affirm the gender diversity of students

   Statement encouraging inclusion of anti-bias training as a component of teacher preparation programs

   Information about the complex issue of human trafficking

NEA will oppose deportations and state that public school staff will decline cooperation with ICE officials

   or any official seeking immigration information

Urge members and public to join in efforts to demand Betsy DeVos answer questions posed by NEA

   President, Lily Eskelson-Garcia

Several NBIs promoting aspiring educators for future leadership roles

NEA mount a media campaign advocating preservation and extension of public schools and community

   college libraries be staffed with professionally trained librarians

NEA call for an immediate moratorium on charter school expansion

NEA will publicize our support of the right to Universal Health Care

Fund trainers for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills

Oppose Trump’s Muslim Travel ban

Request the resignation of Betsy DeVos

Direct NEA to look into the economic effect of establishing a dues structure based on the income for all   

   Members

 

Human and Civil Rights Dinner

One of the highlights of the RA was the HCR dinner.  This is a formal affair with about 1800 people attending.  The award winners were a phenomenal group of people who have made a difference in the lives of people all over the US.  It was an honor to meet them.

 

Ulysses and me at the HCR Dinner

 

Hopefully, this report will let you know more about our days in Boston.  It was a pleasure to represent FEA-Retired at these meetings. 

 

 

Your four representatives enjoying lobster!!

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