Joint Education Minnesota Retired/WEAC Conference

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                         JOINT EDUCATION MINESOTA RETIRED/WEAC RETIRED CONFERENCE                             

                                                                     By Bobbie Margo                                                   

The second annual joint conference of Education Minnesota Retired and WEAC Retired (Wisconsin Education Association Council) was held on November 18, 2020 on ZOOM at 10:30a.m.  Approximately 133 participants attended with special greetings being extended by Julie Jagusch (ED MN R President), Ginny Bosse (WEAC R President), and Sarah Borgman (NEA-R President).  Borgman represents the 321,000+ members of NEA-Retired.  She informed us that NEA-R donated $100,000.00 more than the previous year to NEA PAC!  Way to go, Retirees!!!  Borgman also stressed that 23% of NEA-R Committee membership is made up of minorities.  We work as a team so we continue to be mindful of donating as much as we can along with racial inclusion and racial justice.

The next special guest was Becky Pringle-recently elected as NEA President.  Pringle informed us that in the most recent federal election, 1 in every 28 voters was an NEA member!  Pringle then quoted Angela Davis, well known civil rights activist in the 1960s.  In several of her speeches, Davis reminded potential voters that public education seemingly had gone from the school house to the White House!  Pringle reminded conference participants that this most recent political win was for our democracy!  NEA has sought to reclaim public education as a common good, and in helping to advance this endeavor, retirees showed up-BIG TIME!  In moving forward, one of Pringle’s goals is to build a stronger relationship with other labor leaders.  Unions remain the backbone of our country.  We WILL build a stronger labor movement TOGETHER!!

The Conference Keynote speaker was Traci DeSalvo, Director of Communicable Diseases in Madison, WI.  DeSalvo reminded us that the COVID 19 pandemic can be very stressful-causing fear, anxiety, lonliness, and isolation.  As of this writing, COVID vaccines have been developed and are being shipped throughout our country-starting the long road to making the vaccine available to all who want it.  This vaccine distribution has been likened to the distribution of the polio vaccine in our country in the 1950s. (some of you may not remember this because you are too young! )  The polio vaccine was given to all children when we were in school.  I remember being lined up class by class, and we all went to the auditorium. (Hibbing High School auditorium, in my case)  Each one of us was given a very small paper cup with a white sugar cube.  I put the cube in my mouth, it melted, I swallowed the liquid and that was that!  The COVID 19 vaccine is not going to work with a sugar cube, however, regardless of the delivery method, we can look towards this vaccine as a hopeful start to rebuilding the economy and to rebuilding our lives.

Final conference remarks were given by ED MN R President Julie Jagusch.  Jagusch thanked the conference organizers, the conference speakers and the attendees.  She echoed the sentiment that for the 3rd Annual Conference-the sincere hope is that we will be able to meet face-to-face!