Aisha Cook is a woman of
action. So when members
of the NYSUT Women’s
Committee were called on to form
women’s groups back in their communities,
Cook went to work.
Using the 10-step guide the committee
developed to help members
organize women’s committees
locally, Cook posted a sign up sheet
and background information at a
“sticking with our union” party her
local hosted in November. “About
10 women signed up that day," said Cook, vice president of the
New Rochelle Federation of United
School Employees. She hopes to
grow the committee to 30. “I also
wrote about it in our newsletter and
got some more sign-ups from that."
At a late November organizing
meeting, the fledgling New Rochelle
committee discussed plans for the
women’s rallies in January and
made posters for the event. “We’re
deciding whether we want to stay
local or travel to the Washington, D.C.,” said Cook noting that future
plans include a Women’s History
Month commemoration in March, and
hosting speakers from a local domestic
violence prevention organization.
Be the change
Forming local committees isn’t the
only charge from the NYSUT committee
meeting. NYSUT Executive Vice
President Jolene DiBrango, committee
chair, encouraged members to
keep standing strong.
“While it has been an incredible
year of resistance, persistence, solidarity
and sisterhood, it has also been
an incredibly painful year for so many
of us,” said DiBrango citing attacks
on women’s rights and voter suppression.
“We can’t look away and stop
engaging and advocating — we must
be the change we want and deserve."
DiBrango called on members
to grow the number of women in
leadership roles in their locals and to
prepare for the statewide network of
women’s marches in January. The
meeting featured committee subgroups
on women’s health, sexual
harassment, coalition building, mentoring
and women in leadership.
With 70 members, the group
has raised more than $2,800 for
the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund,
hosted a booth at the 2018 NYSUT
Representative Assembly and highlighted
stories of inspiring NYSUT
women using a ‘HERstory’ article template.
The NYSUT Women’s Committee
aims to educate female members
about the work of the union, and
highlight issues important to women,
including inequalities in pay, health
care and education for women.
Follow the committee on Facebook or Instagram at NYSUTwomen, or on
Twitter @NYSUTWomensComm —
be sure to use #NYSUTWomen to join the conversation.