Racial Equity Task Force delivers draft report to CFT Convention

The 18 members of the CFT Racial Equity Task Force have forged a solid draft plan after three weekend meetings of facilitated discussion and analysis.

Representatives from the task force presented the 20-page draft report and its recommendations to the Executive Council on January 28. Council members voted unanimously to put forward a resolution to adopt the report at the upcoming CFT Convention.

“Purposeful.” “Timely.” “Concrete and specific: Our local could take these recommendations and implement them right now.” “Challenges us.” These are some highlights of the executive council members’ reaction to the draft plan.

The task force report is the result of delegates adopting Resolution 16 titled “Close the opportunity gap for Black males,” at last year’s Convention. It named 2016 as the year for racial equity and authorized the creation of a CFT task force on racial justice to further develop and implement the proposals contained in a broad framework outlined in a report from the AFT Racial Justice Task Force in 2015.

Now, the CFT report, Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity for Black Men and Boys in California, challenges the union to put its commitments to racial justice into action in new and meaningful ways. The report contains a framework for a four-year plan replete with specific racial equity recommendations for the CFT and local unions to consider. The plan’s goals and objectives are aimed at helping the union achieve four major priorities identified by the task force. 

Task force members urged the CFT to “reality-check” the recommendations by soliciting feedback from Black men in the constituencies the recommendations are aimed at serving. The CFT will hold a focus group in early March; participant feedback will be analyzed and incorporated into the final report. Focus group participants will include Black men from schools and colleges, workplaces, and the community; CFT members as well as nonmembers.

If Convention delegates vote to adopt the final report in April, CFT will make it available to all members online.

Four priorities identified by task force

1. Develop and implement programs designed to help identify, recruit, develop and retain Black male educators and staff.

2. Provide professional development and cultural competency, racial equity, and unconscious bias training that helps all teachers and staff understand their own biases.

3. Establish partnerships with trade unions and industry groups to develop apprenticeship programs that provide job training and placement in trade careers that open the door to economic opportunity and independence for young Black men by empowering them to choose their own paths.

4. Change K-12 school discipline practices to include restorative justice practices and fairer processes.

CFT Racial Equity Task Force members

Gemma Abels Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2022
Dennis Cox ABC Federation of Teachers — Retiree Chapter, AFT Local 2317R
Jeffery M. Freitas Carpinteria Association of Unified School Employees, AFT Local 2216.
Ingrid Gunnell United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021
Veronika Huntsberry Berkeley Council of Classified Employees, AFT Local 6192
Frank Lara United Educators of San Francisco, AFT Local 61
Elaine Merriweather United Educators of San Francisco, AFT Local 61
Walter Mitchell Berkeley Council of Classified Employees, AFT Local 6192
Cecily Myart-Cruz United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021
Fernando Oleas Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521
Kofi Opong-Mensah United Professors of Marin, AFT Local 1610
John Perez United Teachers Los Angeles — Retiree Chapter, AFT Local 1021R
Juan Ramirez United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT Local 1021
Susan Solomon United Educators of San Francisco, AFT Local 61
Dinesa Thomas-Whitman Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521
Michael Tompkins Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521
Angelo Williams Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2279
Carl Williams Lawndale Federation of Classified Employees, AFT Local 4529