Conference focuses on need for involvement
Speaker calls on EMAC audience to ‘organize, organize, organize’
By Laura Barrett
H ow about the 2012 election?” said an upbeat Princess Moss, the luncheon speaker at the recent MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs
“President Obama is taking his case to the
American people,” she continued. “If we’re going to
be in the fight, we must organize. A lot of our ethnic
minority members are very new to politics. They
are fresh, fertile ground for us to organize, organize,
Moss is a member of the NEA Executive
Committee. Like the other speakers at the
conference, which was held at the Sheraton
Framingham on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, she emphasized
the need to get more ethnic minority members
involved in their locals, in the MTA and in the NEA.
Important ways to become involved, speakers
noted, include attending the EMAC Conference
each winter and participating in training and other
activities at the MTA Summer Conference, which is
held in Williamstown every August.
The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee was
founded in 1979 and is charged with implementing
the MTA Ethnic Minority Involvement Plan, which
is designed to increase the participation of members
from diverse backgrounds in all phases of the
“I didn’t get to a leadership position with the
NEA by myself,” Moss told a crowd of more than
100 conference attendees and MTA Board members
during her speech. She then ticked off some of the
lessons she learned along the way:
n It is important to volunteer. That’s also how
you inspire others to be engaged.
n Learn the power structure of your organization.
Not every power person has a title.
n Find mentors. Most often, they find you.
n Actively listen. Empathy is important.
n Be kind to people.
n Never, ever play with other people’s money.
n Find a replacement for yourself if you move
on. That means you’re bringing other people along.
n Remember that life is not fair. Favor isn’t fair,
either. When the window of opportunity opens, be
prepared. Once it closes, it may not open again for
Several of those lessons apply to Christine
Boseman, the new chair of the committee and a
member of the Classified Staff Union at the University
of Massachusetts in Boston. Boseman credited
mentors with getting her involved by asking her to
become a CSU steward and then inviting her to come
to the Summer Conference for training. As a result,
she was ready when new opportunities arose.
“While I was at the Summer Conference, Susan
Baker grabbed me by the collar, so to speak, and
insisted I join EMAC,” Boseman said, referring to
her predecessor as EMAC chair. “The rest is history.”
B oseman and Moss both highlighted the importance of increasing the number of ethnic minority educators in the state.
Moss said that students need “powerful, positive
Boseman cited statistics showing those role
models aren’t always available.
“While two-thirds of students in this state are
white, nine out of 10 of the teachers are white,”
she said. “Eight percent of students are African-American but only 2. 6 percent of teachers are
African-American. Fifteen percent of students are
Hispanic but less than 3 percent of teachers are
Hispanic. Five-and-a-half percent of our students are
Asian but only 1 percent of teachers are Asian.
“I think these numbers are a shame because
young ethnic minority children should have more
adult authority figures who look like them,” Boseman
added. “We want our children to know that they,
In addition to listening to the presenters, the
MTA members who attended the conference took
part in workshops and, on Friday evening, enjoyed
dinner followed by dancing to the Never Say Never
Suban Krishnamoorthy, a member of the
computer science faculty at Framingham State
University, said he is an EMAC participant because
he has always been interested in diversity.
“When I grew up in India, I was taught there is
only one race,” he said. “Human beings.”
MTA members interested in learning more
about the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee should
contact staff consultant George Luse by e-mailing
Christine Boseman, Suban Krishnamoorthy, Shin Freedman, Karen Reed and Julia Monteiro Johnson, left to right, enjoyed the evening festivities.
Photos by Laura Barrett