AFT Resolution

¡SI SE PUEDE!: IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR LATINO CHILDREN AND YOUTH AND ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF THE LATINO COMMUNITY

WHEREAS, Latinos are the second-largest racial/ethnic group in the United States, are of diverse backgrounds, have been in the United States for centuries and have made significant social, artistic, cultural, educational, literary, culinary, political and economic contributions to American life since our country’s founding; and

WHEREAS, the United States benefits from the trailblazing accomplishments of Hispanic-Americans such as Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Genius Award winner and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, Poet Laureate of the United States Juan Felipe Herrera and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and

WHEREAS, Latinos will account for 40 percent of the growth in the electorate over the next two decades and had an estimated spending power of $287 billion in 2015; and

WHEREAS, Hispanic students are the fastest-growing segment of the public school population; and

WHEREAS, Spanish is the second-most widely spoken language in the United States and the world; and

WHEREAS, Hispanics are augmenting the nation’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity; and

WHEREAS, the majority of low-wage service and agricultural sector workers are Hispanic and often experience neglect in the workplace; and

WHEREAS, despite having lower levels of college degree attainment than other groups, Latinos are the fastest-growing student demographic on two-year college campuses, and there are more Latinos than ever in four-year colleges and universities; and

WHEREAS, America’s broken immigration system is forcing Latinos into the shadow economy, where they suffer wage theft, on-the-job fatalities and more pay violations than any other ethnic group; and 

WHEREAS, thousands of unaccompanied children continue to make the perilous journey from Central America to cross the U.S. border to seek asylum and a better life; and

WHEREAS, there is a shortage of preK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel, school administrators, public service employees and healthcare workers who are Hispanic, bilingual or culturally responsive in schools; and

WHEREAS, our members work with the Latino community across all constituencies (teachers, PSRPs, state and local government workers, higher education faculty and staff, early childhood educators and healthcare professionals) and need the appropriate preparation, information and resources to work effectively with this diverse population:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will focus its efforts to elevate the importance of Latino issues to the union in three key areas:

  1. Programs and initiatives
  2. Policy and campaigns
  3. Communications

Programs and Initiatives

  • Extend and expand direct services to our affiliates and members working with Latino students and families;
  • Continue to support immigration information clinics;
  • Help AFT affiliates find opportunities to support Latino members;
  • Strengthen our work on citizenship and immigration issues and English language learner issues (including continuing to be a strong advocate for, and provide high-quality resources to, non-Latino immigrants and ELLs of all language backgrounds and countries of origin);
  • Expand and deepen the AFT’s strategic state, local and national partnerships with Latino advocacy, legislative and political organizations, and faith-based networks, as well as with community-based organizations committed to improving the lives of Latino families;
  • Support the AFT’s work with the Mexican teachers union SNTE (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) through the cross-cultural partnership to enhance members’ second-language skills and other initiatives;
  • Create a domestic plan of action that integrates the AFT’s international work in the Americas, such as continued work with the unions in Honduras and Colombia, to promote democracy and civil society;
  • Advocate for improved recruitment, support and retention of Latino and bilingual teachers, PSRPs, public employees, nurses and other healthcare professionals, and higher education faculty, with initiatives that are inclusive of grow-your-own programs and more traditional recruitment routes but that do not rely significantly on the H1B Visa Program for recruitment;
  • Promote ethical recruiting and workplace treatment practices of H1B visa holders who are brought to the country; and
  • Continue to provide AFT Latino-themed publications, culturally relevant professional development and other union-sponsored resources, such as Colorín Colorado, to increase our members’ efficacy with instruction and on Latino parent and community outreach; and

Policy and Campaigns

  • Develop and champion a robust AFT legislative agenda and campaigns, to be shared with the president’s administration, Latino lawmakers and allies on Capitol Hill, state and local legislative and government organizations, and the broader community, that focus on:
  1. Comprehensive immigration reform and immigration executive actions;
  2. Passage of the federal DREAM Act;
  3. Higher wages and worker protections;
  4. Greater healthcare access for Hispanics;
  5. Advocating for migrant farmworker families, immigrant mothers and children, and unaccompanied children seeking refuge in the United States;
  6. Early childhood education and bilingual education;
  7. More career and college preparation programs to prepare more Hispanic youth to succeed in the workplace and graduate with higher education degrees;
  8. Recruitment and support of Latino teachers, paraprofessionals and school support staff, professors and adjunct faculty, and healthcare workers; and
  9. Child labor and child trafficking; and
  • Maximize current potential of political campaigns by incorporating multiple Latino voices and needs;
  • Commit to have an AFT presence and participation in Latino events, such as educational conferences, community outreach fairs and ELL forums; and
  • Bolster organizing campaigns/events targeting Latinos through expanded work on issues that directly affect them; and

Communications

  • Be proactive about addressing the urgent needs of the growing Hispanic community where they live and across all settings where AFT members work: in schools, public institutions, hospitals and institutions of higher education; and
  • Enact a comprehensive interdepartmental communications strategy that includes staffing, is informed by AFT policy and programmatic priorities, and includes traditional and new media in English and Spanish.
(2016)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.