EMAC Conference

emac 2020

Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference

Overcoming 400 Years of Struggle ... and Still We Rise

December 4, 5 & 12, 2020

Please join us for the  41st annual MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference — the first EMAC Conference ever to be held virtually.  The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee has an extraordinary program lined up featuring Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and NEA President Becky Pringle, an inspiring speaker and unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color. The conference is packed with inspiring presentations and workshops.

about the conference agenda Registration

Becky Pringle

Opening Remarks by NEA President Becky Pringle

President Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, President Pringle is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation, and using that collective power to fulfill the promise of public education.

Before assuming NEA’s top post, President Pringle served as NEA vice president.


Conversations with EMAC

dr. ibram kendi

Join us in a conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi about the subject of his #1 New York Times best-selling book, How to Be an Antiracist. MTA President Merrie Najimy will moderate this powerful discussion which will explore what it means to shift from being “not racist” to “antiracist’—particularly in our roles as educators and union members. We will imagine what an antiracist public education system and society might look like and discuss how we can play an active role in building it. Dr. Kendi has won international acclaim for reframing the conversation on racism in America. He is the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and in July he was named the university’s Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities. Dr. Kendi has also been named one of Time magazine's “100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
For more information on Dr. Kendi, please visit www.prhspeakers.com

about the conference agenda Registration

“As we reflect on our past struggles, pain and triumphs, we must also listen, grow, laugh and cry. We must organize to lead and unite. We rise because we are resilient.”

EMAC Chair Sharmese Gunn

EMAC Conferences Over the Years


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.

Read More


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.

Read More


‘Getting Real About Race’
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.

Read more


Race, Ethnicity and Public Education: Deepening the Conversation
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.


The Power of Activism
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 of the event.


Standing on a Great Foundation

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.


Celebrating Our Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
“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.