CFA Assembly engages, inspires faculty activists with focus on civil rights movement, social justice

Hundreds of CFA activists gathered for an amazing weekend filled with inspiration, unity, and building union strength April 14-15 during CFA’s 87th Assembly, held in Los Angeles.

The Assembly came on the heels of a wildly successful action at the State Capitol, where more than 1,000 students, faculty, and community and labor allies rallied to increase funding for the CSU. That enthusiasm carried over into meetings at the Assembly, where the focus was on lessons learned during the civil rights movement and how they continue to influence our anti-racism and social justice work today.

Civil rights activist and CFA Northridge member Rev. James Lawson, who helped lead the Memphis Sanitation Strike in 1968, joined faculty on Saturday afternoon and encouraged them to push hard against inequality, injustice, and racism.

“We need massive nonviolent campaigns that will cause the Rosa Parks/King movement, the movement of the strikes of the working families of the 20th century, and the Women’s  movement from 1910-1920 to fade in comparison,” he said. “There is no alternative to that.”

Earlier that day, SEIU Florida Public Services Union President Alphonso Mayfield talked to activists about the importance of building power in the union, especially given the right-wing attacks on organized labor and the impending Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which seeks to destroy unions.

“Alphonso’s local has helped to organize hundreds of non-tenure track faculty at several large campuses in the right-to-work (for less) state of Florida,” said Rafael Gómez, Associate VP North and a CSU Monterey Bay Professor. “Their work demonstrates that fighting for the rights of faculty and other working people will continue to flourish no matter what the right wing throws at us.”

Of attacks on workers, Mayfield said, “We will not go away into the night because no one can legislate away relationships among people.”

“Our competitive advantage through our union is togetherness, relationships and love” for justice and one another in our union, he added.

Faculty activists also heard a panel discussion on the East LA walkout and from student activists with the grassroots coalition Students Deserve, as well as passed several resolutions related to improving racial and social justice.

Assembly delegates passed a resolution against racism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and another in support of SLO students protesting the April 7 racist acts, a resolution in opposition to proposed online community college, a resolution to eliminate racialized mascots, and a resolution of support for Inglewood educators in their contract struggle.

Read and/or download PDFs all of the resolutions here.

Want to get more involved with your faculty union? Click here to get in touch with your local CFA chapter. If you’re not yet a member of CFA, click here to join today! We are all stronger when we stand together.

Click here to see solidarity in action at the state Capitol during our April 4 #FreeTheCSU event.