Several dignitaries will address delegates at NYSUT's 42nd annual Representative Assembly.
The Rev. Anita Burson, pastor of the Elpida Community Church of Christ-Baptist in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, offers the invocation to open tonight's general session.
Burson, a fifth-generation clergy member, was a child of the civil rights struggle during the turbulent last days of American segregation. Burson is the first vice president for the NAACP Brooklyn Chapter and works with the Living Wage NYC coalition.
Mario Cilento is president of the New York State AFL-CIO, a federation of almost 3,000 local unions representing 2.5 million workers across the state. Under his leadership, the NYS AFL-CIO launched a proactive campaign — Making New York Work — to better educate union members on the issues that impact their well-being and ways they can transfer that knowledge into grassroots advocacy.
Tom DiNapoli is the 54th comptroller of the state of New York. He first took office in 2007. DiNapoli has spent his career in public service. As comptroller, DiNapoli manages the $160.7 billion New York State and Local Employees' Retirement System pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, reviews the New York state and city budgets, and approves billions in state contracts and spending.
Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of NYSUT's national affiliates, representing 1.5 million members. Under her leadership, the AFT has launched several initiatives to promote real reforms in education, including the AFT Innovation Fund and the Quality Education Agenda. The AFT, in partnership with TES Connect, developed Share My Lesson, a free collection of educational resources created by teachers, for teachers.
John Stocks is executive director of the National Education Association, a NYSUT national affiliate representing 3.2 million members. Stocks leads the day-to-day operations of the union, spearheading NEA's policy, political and membership priorities. He has been recognized by leading national organizations as an agent for progressive change and social justice. Stocks began his career organizing neighborhoods on quality of life issues.