On the heels of the most consequential election of our lifetimes, CFA joined SEIU last week to host a town hall to converse about the importance of investing in higher education.
Theresa Montaño, a CFA leader and Chicana/o Studies professor at Cal State Northridge, moderated the event alongside SEIU Florida Public Services Union president Alphonso Mayfield and SEIU Local 500 president Pia Morrison.
“Issues of racial and social justice are key issues for our union,” Montaño said during the town hall. “Our students are impacted by what goes on in the community, whether it be the death – the disproportionate death rate of Black, Latino, and American Indian communities – or it’s the continued killing of Black youth. Students, faculty, and staff have taken on issues of racial, social justice issues integral to their union. They are no longer add-ons; they are as important to our union work as are hours, wages, and working conditions.”
Moderators focused on two main issues facing higher education: the importance of public investment in higher education and how college can be an equity driver for faculty, staff, and students.
Chris Cox, CFA Associate Vice President for Racial and Social Justice, North, and Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences lecturer at San José State University, joined the town hall as a panelist to discuss equity within higher education and the effects on students of color.
“If we are not attuned to issues of racial and social justice, we are missing out on our own talent pool, we’re missing out on our own future,” Cox said during the town hall. “We have to center the experiences of youth, of youth of color, of native youth, so that we actually have a group of people in our future that reflects what the state of California looks like in our classrooms.”
Montaño also took part with José Cintrón, professor at Sacramento State and CFA member, in a national meeting on the topic of Latinx struggles in higher education. Cintron moderated, and Montaño focused her presentation on the fight for Ethnic Studies historically and now. Montaño (photo) shared CFA’s experience advocating for Assembly Bill 1460 and the ongoing battle for survival of Ethnic Studies in the CSU. Montaño and Cintrón’s participation last week was at the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions’ 47th Annual Conference.