District/College: Clackamas Education Service District
Job Assignment/Position: Specialist - Early Childhood Special Education
Local Association: Clackamas Education Service District
Years of Educator Experience: 10 years
What are three ways you have actively elevated equity?
- I love seeing members, community partners, and their families for karaoke over food, ideally once a month. For now, I am content with quarterly karaoke gatherings.
- I enjoy organizing with racial and social justice tenets to establish a structural transformation to ensure equitable public schools for our students within our union and community alliances.
- In the past three years, I engaged and collaborated with members across the state to identify, organize, accomplish, and advance systemic changes in our union:
- At the 2019 annual OEA Representative Assembly, a motion was passed to name systemic racism in all OEA documents.
- In the summer of 2019, the ﬁrst statewide Equity SPARKS retreat was funded and organized with grants, speciﬁcally for Educators of Color. Six months later, in January of 2022, we added Equity Sparks as a line item in the OEA general budget.
- At the 2021 annual OEA Representative Assembly, another motion was passed to work with local tribal communities to move beyond Land Acknowledgment. The report of the Land Back Task Force is continuing and ongoing to ensure our union Walks The Talk.
- Bylaws Amendment A: This amendment will transform the OEA leadership power structure. It will directly impact institutional racism, heterosexism, gender, and other areas of social justice, which aﬀect our ability to equitably serve educators, students, and our communities by establishing a member-elected, full-time release Equity Director.
What is your equity stance?
The word “equity” has become so “trendy” in the past few years with zero to minimal structural change or transformation but rather superﬁcial actions for many organizations, including our union. For me, actions speak louder than words. From my personal experience, I have a very short little advice in this regard: develop a very thick skin, do not trade your authenticity for approval, remember who got your back and connect with them often, and immerse yourself in nature as much as you can. Lastly, nap, karaoke, food, and dragon boating help, too!
What is your favorite social justice quote?
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.
Don’t be a voice for the voiceless. Abolish the conditions of voicelessness instead.
-Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen
People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit.
-George E. Allen
Can you share one equity focused resource or student read that you recommend?
I avoid relying on a speciﬁc source to ensure transparency and accountability of information. My recommendations are: read a lot, listen widely to learn not to respond and give yourself time to mature and grow wise. I love any art from Ricardo Levins Morales, an artist and organizer based in Minneapolis. He used his art as a form of political medicine to support individual and collective healing from the injuries and ongoing reality of oppression. I appreciate storycorps.org's mission to preserve and share humanity’s stories to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.