We all have seen by now the organizing ability of teachers in the Chicago Public School system (CPS). When necessary, they have quickly immobilized and activated to action large numbers of teachers to protest and strike. Until yesterday, I wrongly assumed that this type of solidarity and advocacy could only be wheeled by a unionized organization.
However, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) proved at the Final Moral Monday Protest 2013 that they have perfected a model which should be replicated by other public sector employees in states preventing unionization. NC teachers led the way by pushing the total of Moral Monday protesters to over 10,000 people in attendance. In the picture above, NC teachers and allies are identified by those wearing red or with red balloons.
While at the rally, I had the opportunity to speak with two public school teachers who explained the issues facing NC teachers. Latisha Best who has been teaching for 12 years and Carolina Schubert with 7 years, both stated they were at Moral Monday to protest against increased class size, lack of pay increases, and privatization of public education. Currently, the Republican led legislature is making efforts to remove 50 million dollars from public education to be used for private school vouchers while there is an existing court order preventing a for profit company, K12, Inc., from implementing a 6,000 student virtual charter school.
If I was the leader of a grassroots organization, I would be contacting the NCAE to find out how to replicate their model in preparation for Moral Monday 2014. Yesterday’s rally may have been the final Moral Monday for this legislative session, but this is only the beginning heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.
As a social worker, I wished that my profession was out there with equal force as teachers protesting the denial of health care for many North Carolinians as a result of our state government refusal to accept federal Medicaid Expansion funding. High unemployment rates, right to work laws, and low paying jobs are causing middle class and working poor North Carolinians to rely more on a social safety net that is quickly eroding. If we do not help each other organize, collaborate, and share resources for collective impact, the model that this Republican led legislature is creating will be implemented across the nation.
We are not just fighting for our children in North Carolina, but we are fighting for children and families in Red States all across America. Join us on Twitter for a Live Chat using the hashtag #SWunited on August 1, 2013, Thursday at 8PM EST, to discuss What We Can Learn moving forwards to Moral Monday 2014. Questions for the discussion can be tweeted in advance to the moderator @swhelpercom, and information on how to participate in a live twitter chat can be found via https://swhelper.org/chat-formatrules/.