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November 4, 2019

Thank You John

When Congressman John Conyers, Jr. died last week I wanted to send out a tweet, but I struggled. How do I balance all he fought for and accomplished with the allegations that led to his resignation?  So I didn’t tweet.  I should have.

Yesterday my wife Alice and I went to the Charles Wright Museum of African-American History where the Congressman was lying in state.  We stood in line with others there to pay their respects, to thank the man who is an icon of the civil rights struggle, a man who embodied the city of Detroit, a man who fought for justice when he saw injustice.  And yes, a flawed man, a man about whom there was enough credible evidence about wrongdoing that Democratic leaders asked him to resign.

As wrong as these behaviors are, they do not negate the man’s accomplishments and actions.  Over fifty years in Congress, the longest serving African-American, the then young congressman standing on a car in the middle of Detroit’s1967 rebellion trying to bring peace, co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, unstoppable advocate of single-payer health care, the leader making King’s birthday a national holiday, a fighter for reparations, Chair or Ranking Democratic of the Judiciary and House Oversight Committees.  Thirteenth on Nixon’s enemies list is proof enough of all he the good he did.  His “What Went Wrong in Ohio” was a study of voter suppression, which he fought to highlight and end.  His “The Constitution in Crisis” was an analysis of Bush’s lying to the nation to declare war on Iraq, and highlighted the illegal torture condoned by the Bush administration.

Then there was John Conyers at home.  I had the honor of being with John on a number of issues—the newspaper strike, Detroit teacher strikes, anti-war demonstrations, health care and immigrant rights rallies, among many other issues.  John stood 100% with organized labor.  He was always there when called upon. John stood and fought for justice like few have.   Thank you John.

Macomb ISD Paras President Jeff Whittle Op-ed in Macomb Daily: Educators are Hurting

Macomb ISD Paras President and AFT Michigan Vice President Jeff Whittle had an op-ed published in the Macomb Daily this weekend that starkly lays out how the state’s underfunding of our schools has made the work of educators more difficult and contributed to people leaving and/or avoiding the profession. Read Jeff’s op-ed here:

Register Now for the December Union Building Institute!


Our next UBI is coming up on December 7, and you can sign up now by following this link. In addition to the 4 core courses:

  • Union Foundations
  • Member Organizing
  • Collective Bargaining & Contract Enforcement
  • Coalitions & Political Action

We will also offer advanced workshops on:

  • Building the Organizing Structures of your Local: Mapping, Charting, Turf and Data
  • Creative Actions: Songs, Art, Drama and Media to Build Unity and Power

Upcoming Professional Development

Enhancing Student Development Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond

December 7, 2019

8:30-4:00 p.m.

AFT Michigan Office

This workshop will provide strategies for educators to integrate social-emotional learning activities into everyday content instruction, no matter what subject or grade level.

AFT Michigan members will receive 6 SCECHs after completion of this workshop.

Click here to register.

AFT Professional Learning Opportunities

Spotlight on Morphology: The Immense Power of Owning Words
Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 5:30 p.m. EST and unleash the power of morphology through word study and word play to help students own and build a stronger vocabulary. This session is ideal for teachers and parents looking for easy-to-implement strategies and tips to improve students’ literacy skills in morphology. You’ll connect with colleagues from around the country with this webinar featuring two literacy experts—Maria Bailey, a Toledo (Ohio) Federation of Teachers member, AFT national reading trainer and district literacy support teacher in Toledo Public Schools, and Cyndi Jakel, an Education Minnesota-Hastings member and reading specialist in Hastings Public Schools. Register now.

Note: If the time doesn’t work for you, register anyway. We’ll send you a link to view it later on demand!

Watch On Demand Now:

In Solidarity,

David Hecker, President

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