Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NEA Report #4--Day One: The Representative Assembly

I took pictures as the meeting hall was filling up with the 15,839 people who are attending the NEA RA.

I took pictures of the signs the Communications Committee members carry up and down the aisles of ever delegation to remind the members what the recommended vote of the caucus is for each issue (red C and arrow up or down), or, in the case of an issue that comes up on the floor, the on-the-spot recommendation of the leadership team on an issue (green L and arrow up or down).

And I took pictures during the opening speech of NEA President, Reg Weaver.

But it's a bit like taking pictures of the Grand Canyon. If you aren't here, you simply can't completely imagine the enormity of the room, the noise of the cheering, the vision of the confetti fountains in the lights, and the feeling that you're a part of something huge.

NEA was started 150 years ago in Philadelphia by 43 teachers. There are now 3.2 million (MILLION) members. NEA is one of the largest democratically elected representative bodies in the world. NEA's history is entwined with the history of civil rights and women's rights in our country. NEA elected a woman president before women had the right to vote in our country.

As President Weaver said, "You didn't join because we fight, you joined because we fight for what is right."

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