Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, welcomed convention delegates during the opening session on Friday, describing her hometown of Pittsburgh as one that is always reinventing itself, and its inhabitants as no strangers to hard work. In a way, all union members are like the city of Pittsburgh and its residents, especially in the post-Janus era.
Delegates were also treated to a 15-minute performance by the Dr. Manuel de la Pila Iglesias High School choir from Ponce, Puerto Rico. The students were invited to perform at this year’s convention after AFT President Randi Weingarten visited the high school on one of several trips to the island to offer support. Weingarten surprised the students and their choral director, Maria Teresa Morales, with the announcement last December. "We need to open the door so people see the light out of despair on this island,” she said, “and the best way to do that is for people to see you."
Other speakers during the opening session included the Rev. Dr. John Welch, who gave the invocation; Ted Kirsch, president of AFT Pennsylvania; Gov. Tom Wolfe; AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker; and AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson.
[Adrienne Coles; Photo by Michael Campbell]