I hope everyone had few moments over the last week to reflect and find time for gratitude. As Patti quoted last week from Anatomy of Gratitude with Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and social justice activist, "'Can you be grateful for everything?' — no, not for everything, but in every moment."
Today I feel so grateful to be able to slow down the pace of the last five days. Many weeks it is tough balancing work, advocacy, and family. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to give my family some undivided attention over the last few days. Also, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to having meaningful conversations with people through public education advocacy. As many people ventured out to shopping centers on Friday, I was one of many educators and supporters that went out to these shopping centers to talk to shoppers about advocating for our public schools.
Early Friday morning, educators met in parking lots across NC and asked shoppers for their support to contact legislators and Governor Cooper to call for a special session. Knowing that you have a short opportunity to connect with each person, my mini speech sounded something like this:
Good morning! I'm a teacher here in Wake County. Did you know that legislators wanted to give a billion dollar tax cut to corporations? Our governor said no, 'let's give that money to educators instead.' Other state employees were given 5% raises, but public school educators were excluded. Most of our non-certified staff like bus drivers and TAs make less than $15 an hour. They were counting on a raise to be able to budget for the holidays, but our legislators went home and left them with nothing. The governor has the power to call a special session. He has been pretty good to us, but we need to call and tell him to call a special session now. Can I count on you to make these quick phone calls?
I handed shoppers this flyer, answered questions, and had more extended conversations with many people. Many people thanked me for my time. (This was a wow moment for me. People recognized that we could be anywhere -even shopping in the store they were headed into- but we were out fighting for public schools. One of the comments I got most was, "do [they] really not make $15 an hour?" I'm so thankful for the opportunity to educate people. ALL public school employees work hard. They deserve to be fairly compensated.)
The advocacy did not stop there. Later that day, across NC, educators continued with events like "grade-ins." In Wake County, teachers assembled at the food court at Crabtree Valley Mall. Like other weekends and breaks, we have work to be done so why not meet so the public can see that we didn't walk out with the kids on Tuesday with no work to do again until Monday. We graded and planned and guess what? - people came over to ask the group of people wearing red, what they were doing. We were able to have more conversations and raise awareness more for #KidsNotCorporationsNC.
Our advocacy did not stop there (and it won't until we get a 5% pay increase for ALL public school employees and retirees AND Medicaid expansion). Now we have a request for you. Call Phil Berger 919-733-5708, Tim Moore 919-733-3451, and Roy Cooper 919-814-2000. Tell them "I demand a special session be called to fund raises for ALL - not some North Carolina Public School educators and retirees and the expansion of Medicaid NOW." You can have a more detailed conversation with them or if you are nervous to call, call after hours and just leave the message. It will take a couple of minutes of your time, and when we all call it will make a difference. Post the image above on your social media and share it with friends and family. You can also sign the petition for #KidsNotCorporationsNC
I am thankful that I earned my advanced degrees before they took advanced degree pay away. Many of my colleagues were not so fortunate. Because of this, I am able to pay my loans back and put a meal on the table for my family for Thanksgiving. Some of my fellow educators are not as fortunate. Though, I don't feel appreciated by the NCGA when they offer no raises for teachers like me with less than 16 years on the pay scale, I am thankful that I am able to set money aside for the holidays. I remember working as a teaching assistant in NC public schools previously and watching more money being paid out every month than what was coming in. I know some educators are feeling that struggle right now. Educators should not have to wait until January for the possiblity of a raise. We need a special session to be called immediately. Can I count on you to make these quick phone calls?
Phil Berger 919-733-5708
Tim Moore 919-733-3451
Roy Cooper 919-814-2000
"I demand a special session be called to fund raises for ALL - not some North Carolina Public School educators and retirees and the expansion of Medicaid NOW."
Tags: (education, special session, #kidsnotcorporationsnc, Medicaid expansion)
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