Civil and Human Rights Committee

nysut civil and human rights committee

NYSUT and Civil & Human Rights

“As we seek to build a greater labor movement, one of the cornerstones of our commitment to social justice is to ensure that all workers and communities are treated fairly, with dignity and respect, irrespective of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity or expression, religion or place of birth.”

— J. Philippe Abraham,
NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer

The charge of the NYSUT Standing Committee on Civil and Human Rights is to advance the union’s efforts to promote equity and social justice. The committee addresses civil and human rights initiatives and social justice issues facing members and their communities. Its recommendations are forwarded to NYSUT’s Officers and Board. The committee coordinates efforts with civil and human rights committees of the AFT and NEA, as well as the AFL-CIO and other organizations.

The committee’s advocacy has led NYSUT to take action on key social and human rights issues. Over the decades, our collective involvement has resulted in positive outcomes for many initiatives such as:

  • Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
  • Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • Disaster Relief for hurricane, flood and earthquake victims
  • Border Witness Delegation Trips
  • Tipped Wage Increase in NY
  • Recognition of Civil and Human Rights Heroes
  • Anti-Bullying Legislation and Training
  • LGBTQ Rights
  • U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • Anti-Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking Laws

The committee supports NYSUT’s actions on:

  • Women’s Rights
  • Wage Equity
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Hunger and Poverty
  • Justice for Farmworkers
  • Immigration Issues
  • DACA
  • DREAM Act
  • Environmental Justice
  • Fairness and Equity in Educational Opportunities
  • Fair Trade
  • Child Labor
  • Retirement Security and Protection of All Safety Nets
  • Human Rights and Social Justice Education
  • Global Rights to Free Public Education
  • Socio-Economic Equality
  • Public School Services for Students with Physical Disabilities
  • Racial Inequality
  • More Access to Affordable Public Higher Education
  • Health Care Access
  • Rights of the Innocent

The committee aims to address these issues in the future:

  • School to Prison Pipeline, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Eliminate the Stigma of Mental Health and Promote Resources/Access to Benefits
  • Real Life Skills for Students with Physical and Emotional Disabilities
  • Raising Awareness and Fighting Against Voter Suppression
  • Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Prevention
  • Religious Freedom; Ability to Worship Freely
  • Common Sense Economics
  • Next Generation Title IX
  • Human Rights Conference
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct

NYSUT members interested in having their local union become involved in social justice issues can visit the resources section of the social justice page at To submit ideas to the committee, email

NYSUT’S Social Justice Agenda:

abraham person harmon

(From left, J. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary treasurer; Melinda Person, NYSUT president; and Board of Directors member Anthony Harmon.)

Our agenda promotes equal access to society’s opportunities, thereby empowering people to have choices and control over their own destiny. This agenda stems from the belief that injustice and oppression in other communities and nations directly impacts members of the labor movement. The premise behind this agenda is that a socially just world affords individuals and groups fair treatment and an impartial share of society’s benefits.

This agenda holds that a fundamental responsibility of labor leaders is to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and fight to ensure that every individual enjoys basic human rights. A social justice agenda is more than token charity; instead it is a strategy that transforms individuals and communities.

Committee Members By Region

Update: November 2023


  • Sandie Carner-Shafran
  • Laura Franz
  • Lauren Goldblatt-Kirkwood
  • Preya Krishna-Kennedy


  • Joseph Bennett
  • Cynthia Pace


  • Dan Bishop
  • Dora Leland


  • Christina Droney
  • Marie Lysandrou
  • Kimberly Palmer Bryce
  • Alicia Schreibman
  • Karen Seymourian
  • Barbara Shaffer
  • Melissa Tierney


  • Cordelia Anthony
  • Gale Deans Forrester
  • Malcolm Gilbert
  • Barbara Hafner
  • Sue Moller
  • Deb Novick
  • Greg Perles
  • Rosemarie Rojas
  • Simone Seymore-Jackson
  • Jennifer Snyder
  • Elisa Waters


  • Jessica Jakobe
  • Temnit Muldowney


  • Katlyne Rodriguez
  • Tanya Truesdell


  • Jennifer Birdsong
  • April Daniels


  • Lisa Marie Anselmi
  • Pamela Malone
  • Patrick Romain


  • Nefe Abamwa
  • Selina Durio
  • Louisa Eiermann
  • Michael Eiermann
  • Jennifer Houston
  • Dante Morelli
  • Wendy Palladino
  • Debra Rothar
  • Sharin Wilson
  • Nakia Wolfe


  • Jackie Hayman
  • Thomas Little
  • William Magnarelli
  • Adam Sgroi


  • James Bell
  • Isabella Bertoletti
  • Benjamin Carr
  • Paul Clement
  • Aisha Cook
  • Ryan Crews
  • Mary Curtis
  • Rhoda Havis
  • Penny Hine
  • Keith McCall
  • Mitchell Polay
  • Sandra Ramsay
  • Tara Simmons
  • Dora Soropoulos
  • Shai Stephenson
  • Otilia Taylor-Tanner
  • Diane Torstrup


  • Michael Pavone


  • Trevor Beames


  • Jacqui Berger
  • Taneka Jackson
  • Serena Kotch
  • Eve Shippens


  • Corrine Barros
  • Zina Burton-Myrick
  • Liz Espert
  • Anthony Harmon
  • Sonja Hill
  • Gregory Monte
  • Jeff Orlowski
  • Servia Silva
  • Nicole Smith