Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee


The Massachusetts Teachers Association believes that the diversity of our society enhances the lives of all individuals. The similarities and differences among people in regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical ability, size, occupation and marital, parental or economic status form the fabric of our society.

Excerpt from MTA Resolution on Diversity

About the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee

Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee at 2019 EMAC Conference
The members of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee at the 2019 EMAC conference. Read about the conference.
Mission Statement

The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee exists to advise the MTA Board of Directors as to the status, concerns, and affairs of ethnic and minority groups on a local, state, and national level. EMAC advocates for the identification, development, and empowerment of MTAs’ American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, and other racial or ethnic minority (includes Cape Verdean) members.


The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee exists to advise the MTA Board of Directors, and to advocate for ethnic minority constituents within the Association. Specifically EMAC will monitor the implementation of the MTA’s Ethnic minority Involvement Plan.

Minority Involvement Plan A Message to MTA Ethnic Minority Members

Committee Members
  • Chair: Sharmese Gunn, Massachusetts Community College Council
  • Heba Abu, Cambridge
  • Joseph Fails, Worcester
  • Claudia Fox Tree, Lincoln
  • Joe Herosy, MTA Retired
  • Rosa Lopez-Whitehill, Pembroke
  • Shauna Manning, Classified Staff Union
  • Merrie Najimy, Member Ex Officio, MTA President
  • Max Page, Member Ex Officio, MTA Vice President
  • Janelle Quarles, Member Ex Officio, At-Large Ethnic Minority Director

  • MTA Staff Assistant: Kay Coady,
  • MTA Staff Consultant: Kweku Nyinaku,
Get involved

“ If you aren't in the room, you don't have a voice. Be in the room.”

Former EMAC Chair Susan Baker

EMAC Conferences


Education, Love & Justice
The 2019 MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference focused both on the past and the years ahead as participants honored EMAC’s 40th anniversary and looked to a future in which love — of teaching and of public education — plays a central role in the fight for economic, racial and social justice.

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Wake Up! Break the Cycle of Racism
The 2018 EMAC Conference pushed participants to examine the structural nature of racism and then speak up and take action. The two-day conference included workshops, entertainment, a panel discussion addressing perceptions about school safety, and remarks by MTA leaders and the former executive director of the state's METCO program.

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MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2017
Building relationships of trust, breaking through fear in order to bring about change and actively resisting attempts to turn back the clock on immigrants’ rights were themes that ran through the 2017 EMAC Conference. The two-day event, titled “Getting Real About Race,” was held Dec. 1 and 2 in Framingham. It featured speeches, discussion and workshops on helping students and their families cope during a time of open racism and hostility toward ethnic minorities and other groups.

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MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2016
Discussions about standing together against bigotry, understanding racism as a system designed to divide and control, and engaging in “difficult conversations” highlighted the 2016 conference held on Dec 2 and 3 in Framingham. Coming on the heels of a presidential campaign that tapped into a troubling strain of racism and bigotry in America, EMAC Chair Yan Yii opened the event by reminding participants that “given the current political climate, our mission is more important now than ever.”

Read more and see photos from the 2016 conference whose theme was “Race, Ethnicity and Public Education: Deepening the Conversation.


MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2015
Stories of wisdom acquired through struggle highlighted the 2015 MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference. Keynote speakers Jitu Brown, a Dyett High School hunger striker from Chicago who is the national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, and Clayola Brown, a former textile industry organizer who is president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute — emphasized the need to organize, build coalitions and focus on the big picture. Click here to read more and here to see photos from the conference.


MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2014
EMAC celebrated its 35th anniversary on December 5 and 6. Association members gathered for a special conference featuring warm memories of the past and a message about the need to keep EMAC’s spirit of involvement alive. The theme, “Standing on a Great Foundation,” was reflected in the stories of members who recounted how EMAC grew over the years to become the driving force for ethnic minority participation and advancement within the MTA. Click here for coverage of the event and here for photos.


MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2013
Participants at the 2013 conference heard from ethnic minorities who faced and surmounted roadblocks to became leaders. Click here for coverage of the two-day event held on Dec. 6 and 7. Photos are available on Flickr.


MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Conference 2012
“Celebrating Our Diverse Cultural Backgrounds" was the theme of the MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee’s 2012 conference, held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. View photos on Flickr or check out the wrap up on Storify.