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  • Writer's pictureAngela Humphries

May Day Noise

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

Here we are one week after the NCAE strike. What have we figured out about the Red For Ed strikers, comrades?

We haven’t heard much from NC parents or how this strike impacted their families. Last week, I mentioned how people came out of the woodwork on Facebook to chastise me for asking parents about unexpected school cancellations due on May first and how it affected them.

A few charters cancelled as late as the week before the strike. I received about 300 negative comments on the book of faces, I believe. I was a little shocked at how disrespectful people were all because I wanted to hear from parents. I searched for parent advocacy groups online and found, NCFamiliesUnited.Org and asked how they’re advocating for parents on the upcoming strike day set for May first. The receptionist Renee seemed puzzled as to why I would suggest they offer daycare for their clients in the community with school being closed in the middle of the week. I was puzzled too. How do they advocate? As the call went on, I learned their clients had very specific needs. The website states the agency Mission is as follows:

NC Families United supports and unites the voices of children, youth, and families with mental health concerns to educate, support and advocate for improved services and lives

Renee puts Stacy on the line. Stacy seems receptive and agrees to issue a statement to the press regarding the impacts of missing school. She tells me all clients are mentally challenged. I realized it would be disruptive to normal routines to drop in at a random childcare provider, since the clients have unique health needs. Suddenly, Gail M. Cormier walks by and vivaciously blurts how she is the Executive Director and is, “very familiar with the May first march.” She adds, “My husband is a very progressive Democrat, who is leading a group that day!”

Well, good for him. How about those kids? I asked Mrs. Cormier, “Could you put your politics aside and tell me how the agency will advocate for clientele?” She left the room. Stacy agreed to a press release, but within minutes, Mrs. Cormier wrote back to say,

Of course, I never asked about opposing a strike-I asked about helping people, and adding more than one perspective to the narrative. I think it’s interesting she refers to what’s been marketed as a teacher rally, is now affirmed as a “strike.” The story is clear. NC Association of Educators, or NCAE teachers union, including affiliates like Red For Ed, have trampled on NC families. Unfortunately for any free thinker in opposition, one perspective is the only lens of the media. We cannot accept this. We must witness the realities as they unfold.

I attended the strike this year and on the day before, I encouraged every legislator I could find to come visit me outside to snap a “selfie.” I said, I’ll be the one holding the sign which reads, “#OptOut of NCAE."

On the morning of the 2019 teacher strike, red-shirted zombies flanked the exterior of the Legislative Building and were headed right toward us. There was even a tuba player. There's no way they'd hear me over the ruckus and the kinder-chants they'd worked so hard on all morning...until... a fellow GRNC member (who was visiting legislators about second amendment rights) offered us an amplified sound device and I talked my head off on that thing. I sounded off,

We love teachers! We don’t love how the NCAE is using you!! You pay $500 per year and they’re telling you to vote democrat! It’s time for you to cut ties! Opt out!!

At that, some of them cheered.

I gave three face to face interviews that morning; one with News and Observer, Spectrum and ABC11. I’ve yet to see one broadcast. I am a parent. I was silenced.

If you have a voice and are not afraid to use it, please connect. We must build a grassroots movement to defeat this mob. Red For Ed groups aren’t good for NC, or our teachers.

Start attending government meetings in your community, watch board meetings by going in person, or to the website, or even read "meeting minutes." Share your knowledge with your community. Get information on municipal candidates now, so you friends can come to you for wisdom. We must unify.

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