Updated: Mar 30
On March 24-26, 2023, 4 student leaders (Marlay'ja, Zara, Sam and Bre'Asia) from Youth Vs Apocalypse and the Divest CalSTRS campaign traveled down to Los Angeles to lobby the California Teachers Association to support Senator Gonzalez's bill for divestment SB252 (Fact Sheet) at their quarterly State Council of Education meeting.
Pause. Who is the California Teachers Association?
The California Teachers Association, or CTA, is one of the largest and most powerful teachers' unions in the state. They represent over 310,000 educators across the state and pride themselves on being powerful advocates for students and public education since their founding in 1863. The CTA is very active in California politics. Having the CTA's support for fossil fuel divestment of the CalSTRS statewide teachers' pension fund would have a massive impact for the Divest CalSTRS campaign.
The CTA’s top policy-making body is the State Council of Education. The council has nearly 800 delegates who elect the three state-level CTA officers and the CTA Board of Directors. They also set CTA policy, develop legislation, and make recommendations in general elections.
We had an AMAZING exhausting trip to Los Angeles! Students gained a lot of support from their testimonies. But as expected, the CTA's State Council delegates did not override the staff's position for a "watch" (aka an 'undecided' position) on the fossil fuel divestment bill SB252.
Here are some closing statements from students the 4 students who attended on CTA and SB252.
Please support their powerful youth testimony!
Student statement on CTA and SB252:
As much work as we’re doing and as loud as we’re shouting, money is flowing exactly where it was at the start of All this. It is beyond time for us to move past the status quo. This bill is a necessity to have in the battle we’re all fighting for California to Go Green. Not just for my health and future but for the future generations, your family, peers, and everyone on this Earth. We are in danger and it's showing more every day with storms, fires, and disasters. We don’t need just your support right now . We need your action. The power to pass this is in your hands. Don’t drop it.
Student statement on CTA and SB252:
The bill SB252 to me is an essential change that needs to happen, and can only be achieved with teachers help. I know you’ve heard this before so i’ll be brief but, we are on the forefront of climate change. Black, Brown, Low-income, women (especially of color) will be the first to be affected by the climate. I want to prevent this from becoming a reality. It’s unfair, and inhumane to keep it going on. I’ve started thinking about this more critically during this CTA meeting, thinking about how the teachers can continue to disagree upon a bill that makes the students they teach feel safer It’s heart breaking to see, i’m grateful for the teachers who support us. However this continuous battle to for the bill has been not only an experience that changed my perspective on teachers it also misplaced my trust on them as-well. Without teachers this bill cannot be past, they know this. They also seen the many trials Youth groups have gone through to be able to pass this bill. nonetheless it didn’t matter to them on many occasions. Teachers are supposed to be supporting students; right now i don’t feel supported by them. A lot of the times i see them as our opposition. However we need to be doing this together, at the end of the day we will all be affected by the mistakes of our past. We need the teachers to help us achieve an environmentally safer, respectful, and smarter future which is what SB252 provides In all that said Just remember the future is watching you.
Thank you to our students for speaking TRUTH to POWER and not giving up on climate justice!
If you are inspired by this post, please consider making a donation of $25, $50, or $100 today. Your donations help us cover the costs of travel, food, lodging, and supplies for these trips, as well as support students year-round who are leading the Divest CalSTRS campaign!