Happy Labor Day – Join the Laborhood

I would like to share a few thoughts from the great organizer Fred Ross Sr. today.  Ross was an extraordinarily influential and somewhat overlooked organizer.  He began organizing after graduating from USC in the late 1930’s and continued through the 20th century.  He supervised the camp that John Steinbeck wrote about in the Grapes of Wrath and was the only supervisor known to push back against the injustices there.  He helped folks learn to organize around the issues of racial segregation in the workplace, schools and community; Japanese interment and reentry; civic improvement; police harassment; workers rights; and voter registration; across California.  He trained Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla and Cesar Chavez in community organizing.  Fred Ross Sr moved countless people to stand up for what they knew was right for themselves and for their communities, together they made significant changed to the laws and practices in California.

These are thoughts from Axioms for Organizers by Fred Ross Sr, a booklet published in 1989:

Every Day – Organizing isn’t a job done once and done with. If organizers don’t renew their efforts every day of their lives, then only the grasping and greedy people remain active.

Doing It “For” People – If you think you can do it for people, you’ve stopped understanding what it means to be an organizer.

Winning Hearts & Minds–to win the hearts and minds of people, forget the dry facts and statistics; tell them the stories that won you to the cause.

Something else:

The Laborhood is a new online community for folks in and interested in the labor movement.  It is a well-designed site with articles, bits of information about labor in California, areas to share your story, get involved, and fun and games.  Check it out!  The app is also worth a download.

Thoroughly enjoy your Labor Day!

We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.  -Benjamin Franklin

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BCTA Member Testifies About Teacher Rights

Under current law, more than 75 BCTA educators are classified as temporary employees with no possibility of earning due process rights.  We have teachers who have worked in our district dating back to 1977 who are still  classified as temporary employees.  A temporary employee has no assurance of a job the following school year which puts educators in the position year after year, of waiting each spring to hear if they will be employed in the fall.  Students and families depend on seeing the same high quality, caring staff in the fall that supported them the previous year.  This puts undue stress on children, programs and educators.

AB1619, by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), is now making it’s way through the legislature to address this inequity.  Most teachers in California can earn due process rights after a probationary period of a few years, most educators who work in each County Office of Education and educators from smaller districts are unfairly excluded.  This bill is supported by CTA and CSEA in an effort to provide equal rights to all educators and stability to our schools and students.

Michael Martinez, from our Migrant Education program (also a negotiator for BCTA and our Secretary) went to Sacramento on March 26th to testify for the State Assembly Education Committee on our behalf.  Michael told a compelling, and familiar story .  Please take a moment and watch here the portion of the hearing about the bill begins at 2 hours 26 minutes and Michael begins at 2 hours 31 minutes.  There is a short article on the CTA website about this bill with a bonus photo of Michael!  BCTA would like to extend our gratitude to Michael for taking the time to share his experience with the folks at the capitol who need to hear our story!

Happy 110th Birthday Dr Seuss!

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Happy Birthday to Theodor Seuss Geisel, who was born 110 years ago today! 

Our first community Read Across America event was a great success yesterday!  For four hours, children and families in Chico enjoyed stories read, activities facilitated, information provided and popcorn served by BCTA and Chico Unified TA teachers!  We look forward to another great event next year.

Tomorrow is the classroom celebration of Read Across America.  Dr. Seuss and life-long reading will be celebrated in classrooms across our programs.

Remember to thank a teacher for preparing literate, engaged citizens who will grow to be decision makers in California!

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Horton Hears a Who

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

The Lorax