[ Social Justice ]

Social Justice Academy holds inaugural meeting

By Kara Smith


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YSUT’s Social Justice Academy will hold its first session in early March in Albany. An initiative of NYSUT’s Many Threads, One Fabric series, which explores racial justice, diversity and equity issues, the goal of the academy is to train local activists to form social justice committees within their home locals.

“We want to give members the tools and resources they need to be a force for positive change within their communities,” explained J. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer, whose office coordinates social justice initiatives for the union.

“By providing academy participants with the resources, tools and connections they need to create a successful human rights committee, or enhance an existing one, we hope to work toward creating a world where diversity is celebrated, equity is the norm and oppression is eradicated.”

Members from four locals — United Federation of Teachers, Brentwood Teachers Association, Solvay School Employees Union and Tri-Valley TA — will pilot the three-day event. Participants will learn about the core values and objectives of NYSUT’s Civil and Human Rights Committee, create mission statements, set goals and objectives and develop a budget for starting social justice committees in their locals.

A second four-day training session is slated for July. Topics will include community engagement, recruitment, team building and wellness.

To learn more about the NYSUT Social Justice Academy, email socialjustice@nysut.org. For information about NYSUT’s Many Threads, One Fabric initiative, visit nysut.org/ManyThreads.