CFA Associate VP lights up the role of Free Higher Ed at SEIU Convention

Molly Talcott, CFA Associate Vice President-North, who teaches Sociology at Cal State Los Angeles, gave a rousing presentation at the SEIU-California Member Convention last weekend.

The convention held elections, developed a vision statement for the work ahead, and interviewed candidates for statewide office.

Talcott shared what CFA members do in our working lives, and why, when faculty fight for fair pay and  just working conditions, it is so we can continue in work that is vital to California. She followed other inspiring speakers, including Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, who is still organizing.

In her talk she described a student who in most other situations might never have had a chance at college. His success and commitment to helping other students is exemplary of how faculty in the CSU can help, and why Free Higher Education is so necessary. She continued:

Students like Uriel—who really are doing life and death work when you think about it—are the reason I’m so dedicated to free public education at all levels, from pre-school to university. And he’s the reason I’m also fiercely dedicated to ensuring that our union stays strong. We damn sure fight for fair wages and working conditions for faculty, but we don’t stop there.

CFA knows that the fight for free education is connected to our anti-racism and social justice work, and to our work at the bargaining table. …How about we spend more on higher education than on prisons in the state? How about funding K-12 schools equally across all ZIP codes? How about creating a budget that truly serves the public good, from cradle to grave?

I’m guessing some of you have heard the saying, “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds,” which the Zapatistas of Mexico popularized. I thought of it last night when our shero, Dolores Huerta, talked about sowing the seeds of change. You see, many forces in Los Angeles tried to bury Uriel, not knowing he was a seed. Cal State LA—through the labor of faculty—brought a sprinkle of water and a touch of sunlight, and now he’s sprouting justice wherever he goes, lifting others as he climbs.

See the full text here.

PHOTO: Talcott, left, with Dolores Huerta, center, and CFA President Jennifer Eagan