Within our union, there are still racial inequities that need to be addressed. However, during the WEA Representative Assembly held from April 25th to 27th, the conversation began again as racial justice seemed to become the theme of the convention. Marquita Prinzing and Kaitlin Kamalei Jenkins from SEA tag teamed as lead organizers for Organizing for Racial Equity, a statewide movement that brought forth many racial equity policies at the WEA RA.
Organizing for Racial Equity started as an idea between a few educators at the SEA Mock RA meeting. However, the thought quickly grew into a statewide organizing effort. Many different locals were represented on the core team, including Seattle, Shoreline, Edmonds, Tacoma, and Mukilteo. The team drafted policy submissions, crafted floor plans, and wrote informative documents. The team also ensured that there was a concrete promotional plan, including networking, engaging with caucuses, creating a social media plan, and branding materials. By the start of RA, we garnered support from locals across the state.
With the hard work of the team and the support of the WEA community, we were able to pass all eight of the motions that our team presented. Our motions included:
- Amendment #3: Adding a racial equity analysis question to policy submission forms
- NBI #32: Calling for racial equity training and tools for the WEA Board
- NBI #31: Supporting a Statewide Educators of Color Network
- NBI #33: Creating an Ethnic Studies Taskforce
- New Resolution #9: WEA supports Ethnic Studies
- NBI #41: Supporting Black Lives Matter at Schools
- NBI #78: Calling for more equitable race & ethnicity data
- New Resolution #3: WEA acknowledges White Supremacy Culture
There were also many other racial equity motions passed by other members of SEA and other locals represented by Organizing for Racial Equity. Another huge win for racial equity was NBI 40: in support of the i1000 Affirmative Action bill—a key step to legalize diversifying the teaching force, which was authored and supported by ORE members.
Thank you for all your support and thank you to the all SEA members that were on our core team. We look forward to continuing the movement, especially with the NEA RA coming up soon. If you would like to join Organizing for Racial Equity, please join our Facebook group to stay updated: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OrganizingForRacialEquity/.