#AFTVoices

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#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present Karen Tucker, Executive Board member for the Salem Teachers Union and Vice President of AFT Massachusetts! This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts.

Thank you Karen for showing us how you strive to build a profession where we all have the #FreedomToThrive!

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Gina O'Toole! This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts.
Gina sat down with us and shared her thoughts on the importance of member engagement and the role of programs like the Member Organizing Institute.

"Having people like me and others go in and support the members to command power and make the demands we need to improve all our lives, it's unmatched. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced. It's invaluable."  #FreedomToThrive! 

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Akunna Eneh! This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts.

Akunna is a public librarian in Boston.

Akunna talked with us about the path that brought her to where she is today."A library is it's own beast, but it is a place that I find comfort in and work hard to help other receive the services and support they need. I know this is what my life's work is meant to be."  #FreedomToThrive!

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Phil O'Connor! We chatted with Phil right before he flew across the world to embark on an epic adventure.

"Next week I will be climbing Denali, meeting and working alongside people I have never met before. To climb safely, you have to go as a team, as it is far more dangers to go alone. If the team is strong, we can get each other through anything. I apply this to organizing as well."

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Erin Sutton! This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts.

Erin is the Secondary Art Teacher of the Year, working at Lynn Classical High School. 

"I value the union as a way for educators to be seen as professionals who are skilled in their craft. We need to be giving educators more of a voice in how they’re school days go and how they run their classrooms. Educators work incredibly hard to advocate for students, providing them the best education possible. That's best done when educators and staff are empowered."

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Narly Bedoya!

This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts. Narly is a 5th grade Special Education Paraprofessional and Chair of the Negotiations Team for the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals. ​​​​​​​"We're fighting for a wage increase because we simply aren't making enough. If para's have to have a couple of jobs to make ends meet, but we're exhausted for our students and families, who is that serving?"

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Aamina Mian!

This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts. Aamina has been a Paraprofessional at Chelmsford High School for over 20 years. "In my 23, years I’ve seen thousands of kids come through. It is my job to work as a teammate with the teacher, parents and student to set up everyone for success. For me to succeed though, I need to be seen as an equal and worthy of a living wage."

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Joshua Botvin!

This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts. This week we're highlighting Joshua, Lecturer in English at UMass Dartmouth and Assistant Director of the Writing and Multi-literacy Center! Josh knew almost immediately that he wanted to be an educator. Josh also knew that if he wanted to stay in this field for the long haul, he had to be a part of the union. "Being in the union and taking collective action directly improves the relationship between teachers and students. When teachers aren't splitting time across campuses and multiple jobs, because they have security and earning fair wages, students absolutely benefit." #FreedomToThrive!

#AFTVoices Member Spotlight Series

#AFTVoices is proud to present, Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Marta Garcia!

Marta is a Multi-Lingual Learner Teacher at Witchcraft Heights Elementary, with a deep understanding of what it takes to support her students. This series aims to uplift the voices, members, staff and educators that make up AFT Massachusetts. For years, Marta has fought to build a welcoming and safe environment for her students, as well as supporting other educators in meeting multi-language learning students where they're at. "We can't forget that these students are having to survive a whole world many of us do not even know exists. If we want everyone to succeed, students and educators, we need to be trained. That's what I'm passionate about." #FreedomToThrive!

#AFTVoices: Chelsea Teachers Walk In Together, Demanding Better for Students

It’s no secret that Massachusetts has been hit hard by COVID, but for low-income and communities of color, it’s been particularly damaging. For Chelsea teachers, one of Massachusetts poorest communities, they’ve been ringing the crisis alarm for decades. We sat down and spoke with Kathryn Anderson, President of the Chelsea Teachers’ Union, about historical lack of investment and what a new flush of $40M could mean for students and educators.. 

“Chelsea was hit hard by COVID,” said Anderson. “It was only made worse because our community as a whole has been underserved, underfunded, and underemployed.” Local school districts have become a magnifying glass for the intersection between community, young people, and educational workers. Anderson adds, “it’s not just about all these things coming together, but it tells the story of what districts have been going through for a very long time.” Chelsea has endured drastic budget cuts for decades, leaving educators and students worse for the wear. “The biggest pressure we’ve seen is increasing class sizes and community pressures. Nearly half of our student population have experienced a food and /or housing crisis and over 80% of our community has lost income or had a major health crisis.”