The United Federation of Teachers’ African Heritage Committee, the union’s senior ethnic committee, was organized to help promote cultural awareness within the labor movement. The committee hosts several educational, enrichment and celebratory activities throughout the year in which all union members are invited to participate. These include Kwanzaa celebrations, Harlem Week, museum visits and study events, and many other activities.
One of the highlights of the year is the annual Black History Month dinner dance. Now in its 8th year, the event recognizes the educators that labor among us and includes the presentation of the coveted Mary McCloud Bethune Award for Teaching Excellence. Aware that we are a part of something greater – the labor movement – we also present the Frederick Douglas Award for Civil and Human Rights to an outstanding individual from the labor movement.
The committee has proud partnerships with Harlem Week, the West Indian American Carnival Association, the NAACP, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and a host of other organizations that share our views.
Membership in the committee is free and open to any UFT member who agrees with the committee’s mission and shares its goals. It is a wonderful venue in which to meet and network, exchange ideas and share resources with educators from around the city.
For the last 10 years the committee has been headed by Anthony Harmon, who consistently challenges the group to seek higher heights. Under his leadership the committee has also established the Armando Blasse Scholarship, named after a former District 13 Representative who died in service promoting the union’s mission.