LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Four people from Los Angeles County and one from Orange County are among nine educators who have been honored by the California Teachers Association for their commitment to social justice and for promoting human and civil rights, both in the classroom and in their wider school communities.
The CTA’s annual Human Rights Awards were presented Saturday at the CTA Equity and Human Rights Conference in Los Angeles.
Among the honorees were:
— Guadalupe Carrasco Cardona, Los Angeles. For her commitment to promoting educational equality, her work in underserved communities and her excellent mentorship of teachers and students, Carrasco Cardona received the Cesar Chavez “Si Se Puede” Human Rights Award. A member of United Teachers of Los Angeles and a teacher at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, Carrasco Cardona has been involved in developing statewide ethnic studies curriculum, and has organized community-wide support for students and families struggling to make ends meet. As chair of the Association of Raza Educators of Los Angeles, she supports teachers through professional development opportunities and helps secure scholarships for Dreamers. She also created “La Trenza” (The Braid), a YouTube channel for Latinx youth.
— Gina Gray, Los Angeles. Gray received the Human Rights Award for Women’s Advocacy for her work toward ending gender bias and racial discrimination within her union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles. Gray was a leader in creating UTLA’s “Brave Space” series, which addressed implicit bias and racism in the wake of the murders of unarmed black people by police. She has used UTLA’s social media platforms to educate the broader union workforce about the accomplishments of women of color.
— Telly Tse, Beverly Hills. For his unflagging advocacy on behalf of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, Tse — of the Beverly Hills Education Association — received the Pacific Asian American Human Rights Award. Through his work as a special education teacher, local association president, CTA board member and other roles, he has demonstrated leadership in advocating for immigrants, the AAPI community, educational equity, bilingual programs, and against anti-Asian violence. He serves as a mentor teacher to new AAPI educators across the country and has helped increase AAPI representation in CTA and NEA.
— Daniel Gallegos, Lynwood. The special education department chair at Lugo Elementary School and a member of the Lynwood Teachers Association, Gallegos received the Students with Exceptional Needs Human Rights Award. He is a staunch advocate for the inclusion of students with “exceptionalities” in general education classrooms and school activities. Gallegos’ goal is to shift these students’ views of themselves, so they see themselves as able, responsible and successful. He works to create safe and secure learning environments that allow students to achieve their goals.
— Juli Stowers, Orange County. For her leadership and commitment to LGBTQ+ advocacy as an educator, labor leader and community organizer, Stowers received the Human Rights Award for LGBTQ+ Advocacy in Honor of Nancy Bailey. A member of the Saddleback Valley Educators Association, Stowers is active in many LGBTQ+ organizations. She has organized many events, such as Trans Day of Remembrance, and is a founding member of Newport Beach PFLAG as well as Youth First OC, which advocates for safe, inclusive and discrimination-free schools for LGBTQ+ students.
“At a time when there are far too many outside forces seeking to stoke division and fear, these inspired educators are showing us how to tackle our past and present honestly, confront injustice, and educate with integrity and courage,” CTA President E. Toby Boyd said. “They are showing us how to create a more equitable future so that all our students can think critically, see themselves in our classrooms and curriculum and have the opportunity to succeed.”