Inclán’s own dream was to “lift up others” by
becoming an educator. She also saw teaching as a
way to right some of the wrongs she had experienced
at a time when immigrant students were routinely
told to speak only English in school.
She said her childhood prepared her for
“especially hard” political times.
“We didn’t create these times,” she told the
audience. “We didn’t create a time when racism
is the champion in many places. But we are the
solution. We educators — education support
professionals, teachers, counselors — together
we are here because we are needed. We are the
She also asked for educators’ assistance in the
fight to pass the DREAM Act. “Every day, 122 kids
are losing their DACA status,” she said, referring to
the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Her message was reiterated on Saturday by Kent
Wong, who offered the second keynote address.
Wong has been the director of the UCLA Labor
Center for the past 25 years. He is a longtime labor
leader and an author.
“When we wake up every day amid the barrage
of hate speech,” he said, “this is the time we need
to appreciate the power of ourselves, resistance, and
the necessity of gathering at conferences like this
one — to plan our work to build the resistance and
to advance the broader fight for social and economic
Wong got his start in the labor movement as a
boycott organizer for the United Farm Workers of
America under Cesar Chavez.
“I saw firsthand how this movement of poor
undocumented immigrant workers in the fields of
California captured the warmth and enthusiasm of
millions of people throughout this country,” Wong
said. “And to this day, millions of people think about
it every time they see table grapes.”
He said that a centerpiece of President Donald
Trump’s agenda has been bashing immigrants. “So
it is no accident that we are witnessing a huge attack
on the rights of immigrants as we speak, and in
particular the rights of immigrant students,” Wong
said. “As educators, we represent the first line of
defense. We need to tell our immigrant students that
He said the hard part for educators and students
is often “breaking through the fear.” But “that’s
what finally happened with the farm workers,” he
continued. “That’s what happened during the civil
rights era, and that same trajectory is happening
as we speak with immigrant youth, who are now
proclaiming that they are undocumented and
unafraid. This is a sign of resistance, a sign of
courage and a sign that they have been able to break
through the fear.”
He offered personal stories about young
immigrants who have stepped up to become heroes
of the movement. Educators and “everyone with a
conscience” must stand with them, he concluded.
“We must stand with students and their families to
make sure all can live with dignity and justice — and
Continued from previous page
‘As educators, we represent the first line of defense’
Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, spoke about the DACA program and the fight to
“make sure all can live with dignity and justice — and without fear.”
Photo by Jean Conley
Photo by Bob Duffy
E ducators throughout the country are at the forefront of a growing call for more diverse books for children and young adults.
Not long ago, the National Education
Association kicked off the 20th year of its Read
Across America program by highlighting the
opportunity to celebrate “a nation of diverse
readers.” The NEA has produced a calendar and
resource materials that provide educators with
information about numerous books and authors
reflecting the nation’s diversity of culture, history
MTA member Carrie Tucker, the librarian at
East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School, said
that Read Across America Day — set for March 2
— is a perfect time for educators to introduce their
students to more diverse literature.
“We have a fairly homogenous population
here in East Bridgewater,” said Tucker, who is
currently serving as president of the Massachusetts
School Library Association. “So any opportunity to
broaden horizons is welcome and benefits the kids.”
Tucker worked with two of her MTA
colleagues, eighth-grade English teachers Greg
The students are now incorporating the books
they chose into the curriculum in their English
classes, Tucker said.
East Bridgewater is not unusual, she added.
“Many school districts are doing this,” she
said. “There is always room for the classics, but
we’re doing our students a disservice if we don’t
get out of our comfort zone and explore some of
this excellent new literature with our students.
Especially for the older students, this opens up a
East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School
librarian Carrie Tucker looked over books
with English teacher Greg Shea.
Please turn to Diverse/Page 23