EMAC to celebrate 35 years of making a difference

EMAC LogoThe MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a conference bearing the theme: “Standing on a Great Foundation.”

The conference is scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Norwood.

Several of MTA’s earliest minority activists will be on hand to tell their stories about becoming involved with the Minority Affairs Committee — as EMAC was initially known — and how it changed the association and their lives.

Louise Gaskins
Louise Gaskins

This year’s special conference honoree is Louise Gaskins, who was instrumental in writing MTA’s Minority Involvement Plan.

Over the years, Gaskins became a leading spokeswoman for minority affairs at the MTA, and she is still active today. At the 2014 Annual Meeting of Delegates, Gaskins — along with former MTA Presidents Kathleen Roberts and Mary Gilmore — was honored as a Friend of Education for her decades of service.

EMAC Chair Christine Boseman stressed that all MTA members are invited to the upcoming conference. Those attending the Just for New Teachers conference — which is taking place at the same hotel on Dec. 5 — have been issued a special welcome.

“We believe this year’s EMAC conference will offer the grounding that educators need in order to approach social issues in the 21st century,” Boseman said.

She stressed the importance of bringing together new educators and those who have been active in the MTA for decades.

“When we join to talk about race and discuss the forces that have formed our society, we build a bridge that helps educators deal with issues that are still very much at the forefront,” she said. “This is why we chose to hold both conferences in the same hotel, one right after the other.”

On Friday, all MTA members are invited to attend a late-afternoon “bridge” workshop that will begin just after the Just for New Teachers conference concludes.

The discussion, titled “The Skin that We Speak: Exploring Culture and Language in the Classroom and Beyond,” will be led by Beau Stubblefield-Tave of the Center for Cultural Fluency.

The discussion will be followed by registration for the EMAC conference and a social hour with hors d’oeuvres.

Ann Wass
Ann Wass

At the dinner on Friday, former MTA President Anne Wass will offer the keynote address. Wass is widely viewed as a champion of students, public education and human and civil rights.

Attendees who have been especially active in EMAC over the years will be asked to offer their memories during the dinner. NEA officers past and present will send videotaped greetings from Washington, D.C.

Saturday workshops will include sessions on the history of EMAC, the classroom community, the school-to-prison pipeline, social media, getting elected to MTA office, and diversity. A wrap-up session will conclude the conference. Special honoree Gaskins will speak about her decades of MTA activism during the luncheon on Saturday.

Kevin Gilbert, a member of the NEA Executive Committee, will also address the crowd. The veteran educator has been a social studies teacher, coach and administrator in Mississippi.

To register for the conference, please visit www.massteacher.org/emac. For more information, call the Division of Training and Professional Learning at 617.878.8153.