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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Dec. 13, 2019

The next Chapter Leader Update will be Jan. 3

Photo of the Week - Dec. 13, 2019

HOLIDAY SPIRIT LIVES: Teresa Bella, a pre-K teacher at PS 185 in Harlem, gives advice to children doing crafts at the UFT's annual holiday party for homeless students, hosted in partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless, at UFT headquarters in Manhattan on Dec. 7.

This Week's Focus

Chapter leader stipend checks will be mailed in December

Chapter leaders are the face of the union for most members and we rely on your leadership. As a small acknowledgment of the work you’ve done and the work you will do during this school year, we are mailing you your base stipend check this month as compensation for out-of-pocket expenses you incur while performing your duties as chapter leader. The base stipend is calculated at a rate of $6 per member. Each chapter leader receives a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,350. The chapter leader stipend is based on your estimated expenses as chapter leader during the school year. The IRS is very clear that for tax purposes, any excess you receive must be included in your gross income. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you keep all receipts. This school year, chapter leaders who qualify will receive a second stipend check at the end of June in recognition of the extra time and effort they have dedicated to empower, organize and engage their members during the 2019–20 school year. Learn more about how the June payment is determined .

Assist paraprofessionals who have received termination notices

The Department of Education recently sent termination notices to paraprofessionals who have not completed their certification requirements. Please tell these paras that they should log into their TEACH account on the State Education Department’s website and find out what they are missing. Paraprofessionals who have received notice of termination for lack of college credits can apply between Feb. 1 and March 31 for the Career Training Program for the summer semester. The program pays tuition for from three to six credits per semester for undergraduate study at participating colleges and universities. Two and a half hours per week of release time and/or a summer stipend are also provided to support study. Paraprofessionals who have received a notice of termination and have specific questions should contact the UFT’s team of certification specialists — Monica Christie, Jeremiah Bornemann or Stephanie Forbes — at 212-331-6311.

Borrowing from your retirement funds

As a UFT member, you have two sources from which to borrow money. If you are in pension tiers 3, 4 or 6, you can borrow from your Qualified Pension Plan against your Member Contribution Accumulation Fund and against part of your additional member contributions. You may also borrow from your Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) account. The maximum amount you can borrow from your pension and your TDA is $50,000 provided you have sufficient funds in those accounts. Loans from both accounts are normally available within two weeks after you apply and under normal circumstances are not taxable. Both have convenient repayment plans. The interest rate for TDA loans is 7% per year and the interest rate for QPP loans is 6% per year. Borrowing money is a serious financial decision. Be sure to compare the terms of TRS/BERS loans to other loans to understand all of the ramifications. For more information, seethe Teachers’ Retirement System website. 

Jan. 10 deadline to nominate a colleague for a CTE award

Time is running out to nominate a colleague who works in a career and technical education school for one of the UFT’s 2020 CTE awards. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, Jan. 10. Nominees should be outstanding CTE teachers recognized by their peers for their commitment, dedication and service to their students, high school and community. Winners will be honored at the union’s CTE Awards Ceremony on Friday, Feb.7, at UFT headquarters. For more information, including nomination guidelines, see the online CTE 2020 Awards Submission Form .  

UFT headquarters is open during the winter break

Make sure your members know that UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway will be open during the winter break except for Tuesday, Dec. 24; Wednesday, Dec. 25; Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New Be on the lookout for Census information: As UFT President Michael Mulgrew said at the Dec. 11 Delegate Assembly, the union is making a big push to maximize New York City’s participation rate in the 2020 Census. More detailed information on how chapter leaders can play a role in this political action campaign will be coming in early January.  
  • New No school on Dec. 23: Please remind your members that the DOE amended the school calendar to make Monday, Dec. 23, part of the school holidays.
  • New Secure personal items and equipment during winter break: Chapter leaders should tell members to protect themselves against theft by securing all personal belongings and valuable school equipment such as laptops, camcorders and projectors during the break. Read this story for more tips on the UFT website. Please distribute the NYPD Lock It or Lose It flier in your members’ mailboxes and post it on your UFT bulletin board.
  • The UFT mobile app can save you money during the holidays: Remind your members that UFT-Mobile unlocks special member-only discounts for apparel, entertainment, travel, school supplies and more to save money on holiday shopping. Members can download the app for Apple phones or the app for Android phones. They log in to the app using the same username and password they use for the UFT website.
  • Paint condition survey in schools: The Division of School Facilities strengthened its lead-paint inspection protocol to include three paint-condition surveys each school year in any classrooms with students under 6 years old. The first survey should have been conducted by custodial engineers before the first day of school. The next round of surveys began on Monday, Dec. 9. The third survey will take place in June. Any areas identified with damaged paint will be cross-referenced with the previous database to determine if the paint is lead-based. If there is no prior data, a third-party environmental contractor will test the paint. Any repair work to deteriorated lead-based paint will be addressed by Division of School Facilities contractors. Be aware that if damaged lead-based paint cannot be isolated, rooms may be closed immediately pending repairs. Following any repair work, another third-party contractor will take dust-wipe samples to ensure the room is safe for re-occupancy.

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Share with Your Members

New NYPD Lock It or Lose It flier

UFT Academic High School Awards Nomination flier

Kwanzaa 2019 flier

2019-20 Social Work and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Continuing Education Course Outline flier

Caregiver Support Group flier

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You Should Know

Community Service

UFT’s Albert Shanker college scholarship applications available: Make sure your high school seniors apply for a $5,000 Albert Shanker college scholarship. The deadline is Jan. 31, 2020. Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible city public high school seniors through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund. Please reach out to your school’s college advisers and school counselors to make sure eligible seniors apply for these scholarships. If you do not work in a high school, please reach out to family, friends and community members who may qualify for this award. To receive a $5,000 scholarship from the fund, those selected must be accepted in a full-time, matriculated, degree-granting program at an accredited college or university. You can get more information on the scholarship and application materials on the UFT website.

English Language Learners

New Free resources for support immigrant students: Educators can find a free reference guide and a series of four short videos to help them create a safe and supportive space for their immigrant students. The videos include general information for educators as well as ways to address immigration issues in both elementary and secondary schools. The accompanying guide provides fiction and nonfiction titles for Pre-K–12, curricular materials, a film list, posters and handouts, information about advocacy groups and resources for families as well as supports for undocumented students applying to college. These materials are provided by CUNY and funded in large part by a grant from the State Education Department. You can access these resources on the Supporting Immigrants in Schools page of the CUNY website.

Functional Chapters

Guidance on re-staffing for OT/PTs on a leave: As a result of the 2018 DOE-UFT contract, occupational therapists/physical therapists on a leave have the right to return to their school if the leave is for one year or less. A therapist on a leave should reach out to their supervisor at some point during their leave to confirm their approved return date or change the date of their return. If they are modifying the date of return, they will also need to modify their leave. The supervisor then must enter the member’s name and employee ID as a transaction in Sharepoint (Cybershift timekeeping) in order to get re-staffed and back on payroll in a timely fashion. The UFT is working with the DOE to develop a better procedure.

Submit a nomination for Better Speech and Hearing Month: Speech teachers may nominate their students and/or colleagues for the Speech Chapter’s 15th annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Awards. The chapter is accepting member nominations for student projects and artwork as well as nominations from chapter members who published a professional article, received a grant, participated in schoolwide projects or website creation or presented at a school, district or professional conference. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26. Use our online nominating form.

Health and Safety

The UFT can offer support in times of need: The UFT has designed a number of programs to help members facing a variety of life circumstances and challenges. The Member Assistance Program offers mental health individual consultations, support groups and outside referrals to members dealing with issues such as substance abuse, trauma, bereavement and domestic violence. The Victim Support Program, co-sponsored by the UFT and the DOE, provides psychological support and practical assistance for staff members who are victims of workplace violence. The Victim Support Program’s clinical crisis team also provides immediate onsite psychological first aid to staff members who experience a school-related crisis (such as violence, school accidents or the death of a student or a staff member). The Victim Support Program offers further counseling support at union headquarters to those affected by crisis. The UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer Helpline provides free, confidential assistance for members affected by medical and behavioral health illnesses, and it guides callers to resources, support groups and health care professionals. Find out about the full array of help services for members on the UFT Member Help Programs page of the UFT website.

UFT members can access a new program for Hepatitis C treatment: The UFT Welfare Fund has negotiated a new and innovative program with EmblemHealth to help UFT-represented employees suffering from the Hepatitis C virus. The program gives access to best-in-class care, while eliminating the hundreds of dollars in drug copays normally associated with Hep C treatment. This benefit is available to all UFT-represented in-service employees and their dependents who receive prescription drug coverage through the UFT Welfare Fund. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, members who choose to be treated for Hepatitis C at NYU Langone Hospital's Hepatitis C Clinic will have access to world-class treatment by a renowned care team that develops treatment plans tailored to each individual patient's needs. Patients will have no drug copay with free at-home delivery of the associated treatment drugs and the NYU specialty pharmacy team will be available to answer calls 24/7. You can call NYU Langone Hospital's Hepatitis C Clinic now at 212-263-3643 to schedule an appointment for after Jan. 1, 2020, when this benefit goes into effect. If you have any questions, please contact the UFT Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500. For more information, read the article on the UFT website.


New Attend a PROSE informational session:If you work in a school that is highly collaborative and has innovative practices, you may be interested in becoming a PROSE school. PROSE offers schools the ability to make changes to the UFT contract and DOE regulations to allow teacher-led innovations. Schools interested in learning more about PROSE are invited to attend the PROSE Panel’s informational session on Thursday, Jan. 9, at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants will learn about the PROSE application process and how PROSE schools use their enthusiasm and imagination to implement new ideas and develop sustainable cultures that respect all members of the school community. The session is open to all school staff, as well as administrators and families. Please register online. For more information about PROSE, including the PROSE application, see the PROSE section on the UFT website.

New Celebrate Three Kings Day: All members are invited to join the AFT National Latino Caucus to learn about Latin American culture and history at a Three Kings Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 6, at Acri Café, 1315 Commerce Ave., Bronx. This event will begin at 5 p.m. and will include food and drinks. The ticket price is $25 per person. To register for this event, use the online form. For more information, contact Dana Falciglia at or see the Three Kings Day flier.

Kids go free on Kids’ Night on Broadway: Tickets are on sale for Kids' Night on Broadway, sponsored by the Broadway league. Kids 18 and under can see a participating show, including “Frozen," "Mean Girls" and "To Kill a Mockingbird," for free on Tuesday, Feb. 25, when accompanied by an adult paying full price for a ticket. A Kids' Night on Broadway ticket also includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts and more. Select shows will offer in-theater activities for kids, including talkbacks and activity books. Use promo code KNBWAY20.

Paid law internship for high school students: Teachers in high schools are asked to encourage students interested in law to apply for the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, an intensive paid internship program that places New York City public high school students with legal employers for the summer and exposes them to the legal profession. Applicants must submit copies of their transcript, working papers, a resume and a recommendation letter from a teacher or guidance counselor. They must also supply a document detailing their availability for an interview at the City Bar (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., after school hours or during spring break). Students must also write a 300-500 word essay on why they would like to participate in the program and describe how at least one of Justice Thurgood Marshall's accomplishments aligns with their goals. The application deadline is Jan. 3. For more information, see the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program flier. For full requirements and to submit an application, use the online form. 

Political Action

Take Action Watch the AFT’s 2020 presidential education forum this Saturday: On Saturday, Dec. 14, eight Democratic presidential candidates will participate in Public Education Forum 2020: Equality and Justice for All! This event, sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, will stream live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. MSNBC commentator Ali Velshi and NBC News education correspondent Rehema Ellis will moderate. The presidential hopefuls will face tough questions from union members, students, parents and civil rights groups. The candidates expected to participate in the forum are former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The forum will be streamed on NBC News Now,, and NBC News Learn, and it will be featured across MSNBC programming. For more information, including streaming links, see the AFT website and the MSNBC website. Spread the word about this event and share the NYSUT poster on Facebook.

UFT podcast on the teacher-led labor resurgence: Teachers across the country are leading a labor resurgence as they fight for their students, their schools and their profession. Hear UFT President Michael Mulgrew and former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse discuss this movement as they talk about Greenhouse’s new book, “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor” on the latest episode of “On the Record with Michael Mulgrew.” Subscribe and listen to “On the Record” via your favorite podcast platform.

Professional Learning Opportunities

State shares literacy briefs on Next Generation Standards: The UFT wants to make sure that teachers have the information and professional learning opportunities they need to teach to the Next Generation Learning Standards. In 2021, the state will introduce new K–8 state tests measuring those standards. As part of this effort, the New York State Education Department has prepared a series of eight topic briefs related to literacy instruction to help public school educators implement the new standards. These briefs offer a deeper explanation of the Next Generation Standards and provide guidance to educators, particularly those serving English language learners. Educators know teaching a class of students with different levels of skills and understanding can be challenging. The State Education Department believes this set of briefs will help educators meet that challenge.


Dec. 20 deadline to nominate a colleague for a Team High School Award: The deadline for nominations is Friday, Dec. 20, for our sixth annual UFT Academic High School Awards. At this event we honor the unsung heroes who deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond to connect with students, communities and the union. Please nominate a colleague, a school-related professional or school whose work you appreciate and whose contributions to our union and commitment to our school communities may be hidden from your colleagues. Post the UFT Academic High School Awards Nomination flier on your UFT bulletin board. Read the award descriptions and use the online form to submit a nomination. The 2020 Academic High Schools Celebration will take place on Friday, April 24, 2020. If you have questions, contact Angel Valentin at

Salary and Personnel

Some teachers may receive a salary step adjustment: Some pedagogues who were rated through the DOE’s Advance System for the 2018–19 school year will notice a salary step adjustment in their Dec. 16 paycheck. These employees will have their current salary step frozen, continued frozen or restored, depending on their category and ratings history. Employees affected by salary step adjustments should receive a detailed notification letter from the Department of Education in their DOE email next week. 

Upcoming Student Debt Relief Program information webinars: Members who are concerned about unmanageable student loan debt will want to know about the UFT’s Student Debt Relief Program, an exclusive UFT member benefit that has helped many members to lower their student debt. As an educator working in public service, you may be eligible to participate in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness and federal Title I Loan Forgiveness programs. Navigating your options and applying for the right programs is complicated, but we can help. We are also offering this service in webinars that you can view conveniently on your personal computer. The next webinar will be on Monday, Dec. 23. After viewing a webinar or attending an information session, you may make an appointment to speak by phone with a loan specialist to discuss your individual needs and create an action plan. Use this online form to sign up for a webinar. For more information, see the Student Debt Relief Program page on the UFT website.

Upcoming Student Debt Relief Program information webinars: Members who are concerned about unmanageable student loan debt will want to know about the UFT’s Student Debt Relief Program, an exclusive UFT member benefit that has helped many members to lower their student debt. As an educator working in public service, you may be eligible to participate in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness and federal Title I Loan Forgiveness programs. Navigating your options and applying for the right programs is complicated, but we can help. We are also offering this service in webinars that you can view conveniently on your personal computer. The next webinar will be on Thursday, Dec. 12. After viewing a webinar or attending an information session, you may make an appointment to speak by phone with a loan specialist to discuss your individual needs and create an action plan. Use this online form to sign up for a webinar. For more information, see the Student Debt Relief Program page on the UFT website.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Rochester teacher layoffs will disrupt students’ education: A proposed layoff of 152 teachers in Rochester in upstate New York would mean a third of the school system’s 26,000 students could lose at least one teacher, reports the Rochester City Newspaper. The cuts would cause another 182 teachers to be “displaced,” meaning they will either be moved to a new school to fill vacancies left by the outgoing teachers or remain in their schools in a new capacity. “The disruption to students is the same as if the teacher were laid off,” Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski said. “Either way, students get a different teacher. The whole key to effective teaching is to develop relationships with students.”

Maryland budget proposals would boost school funding: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Dec. 5 announced a proposal aimed at providing opportunities for creativity in turning around low-rated schools, according to the Baltimore Sun. Under the plan, local school boards and superintendents would appoint a five-year “innovation plan committee” for each school in the program that would include parents, teachers and experts in finance, management and youth development. Hogan also proposes a Building Opportunity Fund that would issue bonds for school construction projects to be paid back using a portion of casino revenues dedicated to education.

Setback for Fight for $15 movement: McDonald’s Corp. has won a huge victory in a multiyear legal battle over whether it should share responsibility for alleged labor violations in its franchisees’ restaurants, reports Bloomberg Law. The federal labor board, controlled by Trump appointees, ordered an agency judge to approve a roughly $170,000 settlement between McDonald’s franchisees and their workers that also absolves the fast food giant from any direct responsibility for labor law violations as a joint employer — the central goal of Obama administration officials who initiated the prosecution.

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Events Calendar

This Week

Saturday, Dec. 14: REGISTRATION CLOSED— Blueprint for Improved Results for Students with Disabilities, a workshop presented by the UFT Teacher Center, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Sunday, Dec. 15: Educators and parents are invited to the American Black Educators of New York's general membership meeting and Kwanzaa celebration from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, 1121 Bedford Ave. Refreshments will be served. Our guest speaker will be Ama Karikari-Yawson, author and CEO of Milestales Publishing. For more information, please contact Sheilah Bobo at 917-412-9099 or

Tuesday, Dec. 17: Queens-based members may attend a Paid Parental Leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. This event is for members in their third trimester. For more information, see the Queens Paid Parental Leave Workshop flier. Register online

Wednesday, Dec. 18: The Administrative EO/EA and EO/EA chapter meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room F.

Thursday, Dec. 19: Bronx-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Participants will learn about the following types of leave: paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA. This event is for birthing parents in their third trimester. Register online. For more information, see the Bronx Pathways to Parenthood Workshop flier.

Monday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 4: Members who are concerned about paying student loans can register for a Student Debt Relief Program webinar, which will stream at 6 p.m. After you register using the online form, you will receive information about logging into the webinar from your personal computer. For more information about the UFT’s Student Debt Relief Program, see the item in Salary and Personnel.

Wednesday, Jan. 8: Bronx-based schools counselors are invited to a chapter membership meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey Street.

Wednesday, Jan. 8: Bronx-based members may attend a Maternity/ Parental Leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Participants will learn about the following types of leave: paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA. This event is for birthing parents in their third trimester. Register online. For more information, see the Bronx Maternity/Parental Leave Workshop flier.

Save the Date

Saturday, March 7: The 16th annual UFT School Counselor Chapter Conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This year’s theme is School Counselors Create Positive Change. More information, including the online registration form, will be available soon.

Saturday, March 21: The seventh annual Middle School Conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. More information, including the online registration form, will be available soon.

Saturday, March 28: The 13th annual Early Childhood Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This year’s theme is "Lighting the Future." Participants will have the opportunity to attend two workshops for CTLE credit. A hot lunch will be served. For more information, see the Early Childhood Conference flier.

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In Case You Missed It

Photo Gallery: Coalition for the Homeless Holiday Party 2019

Photo Gallery: 2019 Meet the President for District 75

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Professional Committees

UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Manhattan. Check in the lobby for exact locations. For further information, contact us at 212-598-7772 or visit us online.

African Heritage Committee

  • Thursday, Dec. 19, 4 to 8 p.m., annual Kwanzaa celebration at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St. For more information, see the Kwanzaa 2019 flier.

Asian-American Heritage Committee

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8, 4 to 6 p.m., general membership meeting.

New York City Art Teachers Association

  • The New York City Art Teachers Association/UFT will hold elections for executive officers for the September 2020 to June 2022 term. The NYCATA/UFT officers are: president/chairperson, executive vice president, secretary and treasurer. Note that the office of president and vice president may only be held by a current or retired UFT art educator. If you are interested in running, please send your name, present professional position, education and a statement of no more than 250 words outlining your significant professional experience, vision for NYCATA/UFT art education and the office you are interested in. Mail to NYCATA/UFT Elections, UFT, 50 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, NY 10004 by Sunday, March 1.
  • 2020 Student Exhibit Opportunity, Inside/Outside: Young Artists Unite Against Bullying IV. The submission deadline for images and statements is Thursday, March 5.

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Calling the UFT

The UFT’s new contact center is open and can provide support with all your union rights and benefits. Call the following numbers with any questions or for assistance.

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Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, Tom Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Brian Gibbons, Alison Gendar, MaryJo Ginese, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, David Kazansky, Katherine Kurjakovic, Junior Linton, Jennifer Long, Joe LoVerde, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Frank Panebianco, Marisol Pena, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Jeffrey Polalitis, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Hector Ruiz, Robin Sentell, Melanie Sepulveda, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega and Betty Zohar.