TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) has honored Karla Hernandez, candidate for lieutenant governor of Florida and third-term president of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD), with the FEA Cesar Chavez Action and Commitment Award, which is presented annually in recognition of outstanding leadership through engaging in activities that dignify workers and by making notable contributions to the labor movement.
As UTD president, Hernandez led the charge in 2018 to mobilize teachers and the Miami-Dade community, helping to pass Referendum 362, an initiative put forth by the union to give public school teachers a raise and improve security in schools. The measure garnered support from more than 70 percent of Miami-Dade voters and is, to date, the largest pay increase in the history of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Hernandez currently serves on the FEA Governance Board, the FEA Cabinet, the Florida AFL-CIO Executive Board, the Education Fund Executive Board, the board of the United Way, as the chairperson of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Women’s Rights Committee and as a vice president of the AFT.
Her goal as a leader is to have a profound impact on education policy and ensure a sound future for all of Florida’s children while also fighting for workers’ rights and immigration reform. In July 2019, Hernandez was recognized by Miami Today as part of its Achiever Series for her work in advancing public education throughout the Miami-Dade community.
Before dedicating her life and career to advocating for public education, Hernandez taught in the classroom for more than 10 years. In 2010, she was selected as Teacher of the Year at Hialeah Middle School in Miami-Dade County for her outstanding work with special needs children.
Donna Shalala, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, writes on Hernandez’s behalf: “Having known and admired Cesar Chavez and his work, I think it is fitting to honor President Hernandez with this award. Aside from their shared Hispanic heritage and work in the labor movement, I believe that Karla represents the future of political activism and leadership in Florida and nationally.”
Hernandez was honored at the FEA Human and Civil Rights Awards Gala on Oct. 14 at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, during the FEA Delegate Assembly. The Cesar Chavez Action and Commitment Award, one of five statewide awards presented at the event, went to Hernandez and Sergia Cardenas, the first Hispanic councilwoman of Pierson, Fla.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 201-3223
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.