District/College: Reynolds School District
Local: Reynolds EA
Job Assignment/Position: Special Education Teacher
Years of Educator Experience: 27
What are three ways you have actively elevated equity?
I have made numerous proposals to our union at the state and national level that have pushed for equity. Some of these passed and some of them did not, but all brought the topic of racial justice up for discussion and debate at our annual state and national representative assemblies. Most recently, I brought a motion to the annual OEA Representative Assembly calling for the current Racial Equity Director to be a full-time release position. Currently, the position has a huge responsibility to our membership, but almost no resources or support, making it more of a tokenized position. This motion called for a change in OEA’s bylaws, which would allow for the election of a full-time release Equity Director in 2023. My most recent motion at the NEA Representative Assembly, which passed, was to put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates (such as OEA), locals, and individual educators who are attacked as part of the current “anti-CRT” movement.
Second, I helped to organize a response to the Beaverton educators attacked last year for their district equity work. I worked with the two educators, women of color, who had been most impacted by the attack, to craft a resolution that other locals around the state could sign on to. I also helped organize a response to the racist, anti-LGBTQ attacks coming from the school board in Newberg. This response included a video montage of solidarity statements from educators around the state. Bringing different locals and individual members together to take collective action is a powerful way to demonstrate solidarity.
Lastly, I think it’s important to emphasize that all of these efforts were done working with others. I am a white male co-conspirator, and work to use my privilege to help center or raise the voices of those who are oppressed, as opposed to being a lone wolf or “white savior.”
What is your equity stance?
I'm not a fan of the word "equity." Often, it is actually "checkquity," or performative only. Also, equity simply means that all groups are equally represented. It could mean that all groups are equally oppressed. I prefer liberation and justice.
What is your favorite social justice quote?
“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis
Can you share one equity focused resource or student read that you recommend?
I appreciate the Black Agenda Report, a media outlet which highlights a more critical, leftist perspective and goes far beyond the typical “identity politics” of corporate media and much of the national discourse on race.