SD Educators Engage in Human Rights and Diversity Conversations

With San Diego Bay as a beautiful backdrop, local union leaders joined members of California Teachers Association’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee and San Diego Human Rights Committee in organizing an evening of relationship building and learning how to be more effective advocates for our colleagues and students who are part of an increasingly diverse public education system in California.

Committee members made the most of the three-hour tour. After coming aboard ship for the cruise, San Diego Human Rights Chair Jessica Merschtina launched an ice-breaker activity that illustrated the degree of diversity within their own leadership group. Given a sheet with questions related to diversity, folks were tasked with interacting with one another in finding out specific member information such as; who was born in another country, who spoke a second language, who has traveled outside the U.S., who has a family member with a disability, who has friends/family identifying as LGBTQIA, who has a racially diverse family, and who is a new educator? Answers invited further discussion and interaction.

The activity helped the group realize we sometimes know little about those we interact with daily. That knowledge can bring the desire for a greater understanding of our diversity and help us become better educators and colleagues.

CTA governing board members from San Diego- Barbara Dawson and Roberto Rodriguez- also took part in the table talk questions that drove the remainder of the agenda. In groups, members considered issues of privilege, difference, meeting statewide guidelines on teaching the history and impact of California’s immigrants, teaching the contributions by LGBT+ community, and teaching Native American history.

Chair Jessica Merschtina thanked everyone who attended and shared their personal lives with one another. Doing so helped build stronger relationships and will also help bring greater support for a vibrant, diverse, teaching and student population in our state.