NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards
A dozen individuals were honored at the National Education Association Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner that was held in Atlanta on July 2. Former President Jimmy Carter received an award honoring the “accomplishments of the Carter Administration” and his activism after his one term in office. His grandson accepted the award for him.
The union gave the Martin Luther King Award to Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II, a North Carolina pastor and NAACP activist. Barber has led months of “Moral Monday” protests that have resulted in hundreds of arrests at the state capitol in Raleigh. The protesters oppose policies of the Republican governor and legislators. Barber’s group is currently fighting against the state’s attempt to pass a law that more effectively monitors abortion clinics.
An award for seeking to “promote international understanding” and “motivate youth to work for world peace” was given to a San Diego teacher who works with “Schools for Chiapas,” which “supports the autonomous, indigenous communities of Chiapas.” Chiapans are rebel Zapatistas in Mexico; some refer to them as Marxists with an added element of anarchy.
The NEA State Affiliate award went to the Missouri NEA affiliate, which “sought out, recruited, and trained minorities and women for union leadership positions.”
An NEA Human and Civil rights award went to entertainer Cyndi Lauper who is a lobbyist and activist who promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning rights. Her song “True Colors” is heralded as an anthem for LGBTQQ people.
A Maryland NEA member and award winner, Judylynn Bailey-Mitchell, educates educators and students about African-American history. In her acceptance speech, she called for protection of the human and civil rights of “even yet the unborn.” She was the only speaker of the evening who did not receive a standing ovation after her speech.