A Message from President Nicole Brown
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today, we recognize and honor the life and sacrifice of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man of great faith and devoted his life to end segregation in the South. Many people forget that Dr. King not only spoke up and marched for the rights of African American people, but also for the rights of American workers. The night before he was assassinated, Dr. King met with sanitation workers in Memphis who were on strike because of low wages, unsafe working conditions and years of abuse by their employer.
We are enjoying this paid day off in his honor thanks to the hard-fought advocacy of unions. Yet, Dr. King's contributions to the labor movement are often overlooked. He was a fearless advocate for economic justice for the working class and poor of all races. He worked closely with unions: bringing workers together to organize, build power and improve their lives. In his speech to union members of the AFL-CIO, Dr. King said:
“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.”
Throughout his life, Dr. King stood up for union rights. His teachings about the rights of workers serve us now during these trying times. Let's honor Dr. King's legacy by doing our share and stand together for the change we need and deserve. Many of us have worked at the Hempstead Schools without an increase to our salary scale since 2010. I know you are tired, feel unappreciated, and morale is at an all-time low but we must stay strong and united. We must demonstrate courage and resolve in our fight for what is fair as Dr. King did. He said, “All labor has dignity.” As members of the Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association, this is the time for us to remember his words and to follow Dr. King’s lead in standing up for our rights, union rights as human rights.
Take a moment to read this month's issue of the Long Island Press entitled People of the Year: Educators. Our very own, Ms. Yvette Adams-Estes, 5th Grade teacher at Rhodes Academy, is featured alongside other Long Island educators.