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Our History

The NEA Black Caucus was organized at the San Francisco NEA Convention in 1970. Lauri Wynn of Wisconsin was the first chairperson. The founders of the Caucus felt that Black members of many predominantly white institutions must occasionally come together to define themselves and get their collective act together. The founders also felt that Black people must not and cannot depend on others to see that their views are properly aired. They knew then, as they know now, that if change to meet their needs is going to occur, they, themselves, must design (at least in part) a vehicle that will provide communication and action.      

This communication and action, they felt, must be people based as opposed to person based. This was the first of many “comings together” of Black educators during NEA conventions and other NEA-sponsored events to make an impact on the NEA as it addressed the unique concerns of Blacks and other Third World educators and students.The Black Caucus welcomes all NEA members who share the Black experience. It collects no dues per se, but depends on voluntary contributions, sales of buttons, and other fund-raising techniques.   

In addition to defining itself and electing leadership, the Black Caucus initiated its first interviewing of candidates for NEA office at the San Francisco Convention. Candidate for president-elect, Don Morrison, promised those functioning minority caucuses, that, if elected, he would initiate a program to bring more minorities into the mainstream of NEA activity. Candidate Morrison gained support in the caucus and won the election.      

At the 1971 NEA convention held in Detroit, President Helen Bain and President-Elect Don Morrison were greeted by demands of the Black Caucus: The establishment of a Black communications network; training programs established to recruit Black and other minority educators for positions of NEA leadership; an NEA-funded pre-convention session for minority delegates; and the distribution of announcements of all professional and managerial staff opening to the Black network. President Morrison responded by generating $100,000 in the program budget to establish the Minority Involvement Program and by completing a system of appointing Black and other minorities to every NEA committee. President Morrison’s immediate predecessor initiated this system.      

Following the Detroit Convention, the NEA Black Caucus established itself at ConCon in Fort Collins and led the fight to establish minority guarantees in the new NEA constitution. At subsequent conventions, the NEA Black Caucus led the fight to see that minority guarantees were passed and later protected from an annual proliferation of amendments designed to weaken or eliminate those guarantees. The Caucus has continued its program of interviewing and endorsing candidates who are sensitive to Black and other minority issues.

Despite the differences in leadership styles, the Caucus leaders have remained united on goals, objectives and focus. The Caucus has members in every state in the nation and has expended its contacts to other Black organizations, including the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change, as well as with occasional ad hoc groups.

Executive Officers

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Cecily Myart-Cruz
Chair

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Karen Moore
Vice-Chair

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Gina Harris
Treasurer

Taunya Jaco
Secretary

Regional Directors

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Monica Wynne
Western - Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

 

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Robert Ellis
Pacific - Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

 

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Dr. Eva Diane Smith
Northwest - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Gretchen Washington
Mid-Atlantic - Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Overseas, Student NEA, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

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Brenda Robinson
Southeast - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee

Robert Gaines III
Midwest - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin

 

 
 

Governance

(As revised July 2011)

PREAMBLE

Believing in the worth and dignity of all humankind; in the right, freedom and responsibility; in equality of opportunity and participation; in a free and independent teaching profession; in mutual respect for all; in the democratic process and in the exercise of initiative, leadership and self-development; the Caucus is dedicated to the support of the goals, objectives and programs of the National Education Association of the United States.

PURPOSE

It shall be the purpose of the Caucus to:

1. Advance the interest of the teaching profession.

2. Promote the cause of Black educators throughout the United States and its overseas territories and commonwealths.

3. Make and keep the NEA aware of its commitments and obligations to minority groups, especially Black educators.

4. Continue to keep before the NEA and the nation the unmet needs of Black Americans.

5. Assist the NEA in procurement of job and advancement opportunities and appointive positions for Black educators.

6. To recruit all Black NEA members to join the Black Caucus not limited to certificated staff.

7. Strive to establish an EMAC (Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee) in each State.

ARTICLE I

NAME

Be it henceforth known that the officers and participants of the Caucus are hereby declared a body by the name of the Black Caucus of the National Education Association.  The Black Caucus of the NEA shall herein after be referred to as BC/NEA.

 

ARTICLE II

AFFILIATION/MEMBERSHIP

SECTION1.  CLASSIFICATIONS

Affiliation in the BC shall consist of the following classifications, active and associate.

 

SECTION 2.  QUALIFICATIONS

A. ACTIVE—Any Black member, in any category of membership, of the National Education Association, who shall agree to subscribe to the purpose of the Caucus, abide by the provisions of the governance document and, upon payment of the prescribed annual contribution, shall be eligible for active affiliation and participation in the BC/NEA.

B, ASSOCIATE — Any member who is interested in advancing the cause of public education but is not eligible for membership in the active membership category of the Black Caucus.

 

SECTION 3.RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF AFFILIATION

An active member of the BC shall have the following rights and privileges:

1. To hold an elective office in the Caucus (except those who are ineligible to hold delegate status).

2. The right to vote provided the contribution so stipulated has been paid by 6:00 PM the night before the BC/NEA election process.

3. All rights and privileges pertaining to affiliation in the BC.

4, The right to receive a membership card and receipt upon payment of his/her annual contribution,

An associate member shall not have the right to vote or hold an elected or appointive office.

5.  To receive communications from the BC Chair of activities affecting Black Caucus members.

 

SECTION 4. TERM OF AFFILIATION

A. The term of affiliation shall be on a yearly basis.  The affiliation shall be from July 1 through June 30.

B. The fiscal period of the Caucus shall likewise be from July 1 through June 30.

C. Annual dues for Active, Associate, and Student membership shall be reviewed and discussed at the annual NEA RA Convention.

 

ARTICLE III

OFFICERS

SECTION 1.  OFFICERS

The officers of the BC shall consist of the following: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Parliamentarian, and such directors as provided in Article V, Section. 1.   Where an officer is guilty of misconduct or nonperformance of duties, such officer may be removed for cause by the Executive Committee with recommendation by a majority vote of the members of the Council.

2. Recommendation for recall can be made by the submission of a petition containing the signatures of 60% of the membership to the Executive Committee.

3. The Executive Committee shall notify in writing any officer who has been recommended for recall.

4. Any officer may appeal in writing to the Executive Committee.

5.The Executive Committee shall schedule hearings, whenever necessary, to review the recommendation of recall of an officer.

6. The report of those hearings shall be made available to the membership.

7. A general membership meeting shall be called as soon as possible after the issuance of the report.

8. Such recall shall be determined by a majority vote of the membership in attendance at said meeting.

 

SECTION2.  QUALIFICATION

A Candidate for office shall be an active member of the BC.

Officers shall be nominated by any member in good standing, including self nomination; and be elected by a majority of those eligible participants who are in attendance at the Annual Delegate Caucus.

 

SECTION 4.  DUTIES AND    RESPONSIBILITIES

A. CHAIRPERSON — The chairperson shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

1. To preside at all meetings of the BC, the Board of Directors and the Delegate Caucus.

2. He/She shall appoint the chairperson and members of all standing and special committees, except as otherwise provided in the Bylaws, with the approval of the Board of Directors.

3. To appoint the parliamentarian.

4. To make recommendations to the Board of Directors for Interim appointments.

5. Be the spokesperson and official representative for the Caucus.

6. Co-sign checks of the Caucus with the Treasurer.

7. Perform all duties usually prescribed for this officer and those designated by the Board of Directors.

8. Call special meetings of the Caucus.

 

B. VICE CHAIRPERSON—The Vice  Chairperson shall:

1. Assume all duties and responsibilities of the Chairperson upon absence, resignation or inability of the Chairperson to perform such duties.

2. Serve on the Board of Directors.

3. Assist the Secretary with maintaining membership records, and communications with members.

4. Assist with the publication of the Caucus newsletter.

5. Assist Regional Directors in the fulfillment of their duties.

 

C. SECRETARY — The Secretary shall:

1. Report such proceedings and reports as stipulated by the Caucus or the officers.

2. Report and keep a record of the proceedings of the meetings of the Black Caucus and Board of Directors.

3. Establish and maintain a record of the officers, committee members, and the roster of the participants of the BC.

4. Serve on the Board of Directors.

 

D. TREASURER — The Treasurer shall:

1. Receive, record and disburse all monies of the Caucus.

2. Maintain the financial account of the organization.

3. Make a financial report to each meeting of the Board of Directors and the Delegate Caucus and such other financial reports as required.

4. Be bonded by a reputable financial institution in the amount of $25,000.

5. Co-sign all checks with the Chairperson.

6. Serve on the Board of Directors.

 

E.PARLIAMENTARIAN — The Parliamentarian shall:

1. Interpret the Constitution of the BC.

2. Assist the Chairperson in the conduction of orderly proceedings of the meetings of the BC.

3. Serve as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors.

4. Be governed by Roberts Rules of Order.

 

SECTION 5:  TERM OF OFFICE

A. Officers shall be elected at the annual BC/NEA Delegate Caucus meeting and shall serve a three (3) year term of office that will coincide with the terms of the NEA Officers.  Officers may be re-elected for one successive term.

B. The Chairperson and the Secretary shall be elected at the same time.to provide for staggered terms.

C. The Vice Chairperson and the Treasurer shall be elected at the same time to provide for staggered terms.

D. The Parliamentarian shall serve for as long as the Chairperson shall determine during the term of that Chairperson.

 

SECTION 6:  VACANCIES

A. Only those powers herein stated shall be bestowed upon the officers,

B. The Board of Directors or the Delegate Caucus shall have the power to assign additional authority to the officers.

 

ARTICLE IV

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SECTION 1.  COMPOSITION

The Board of Directors of BC/NEA shall membership shall be as follows:

1. The four officers of BC/NEA.

2. The six Regional Directors

3. One Student with voting rights.

 

SECTION 2.  POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To implement the programs and directives of the Delegate Caucus.

2. To act between sessions of the Delegate Caucus.

3. To levy the amount of financial contributions of the Caucus.

4. To fill vacancies.

5. To recommend budgets of the Caucus.

6. To administer the fiscal affairs of the Caucus.

 

SECTION 3.  OFFICERS AND TERMS OF OFFICE

A. The officers of the Board shall be the same officers as those elected by the Delegate Caucus.

B. The Regional Directors shall serve for the same term of office to which elected by their region.

 

ARTICLE V

REGIONAL STRUCTURE

The Black Caucus/NEA shall be divided into identical regions as set forth by the NEA Governance.  Each region shall have a director.

 

SECTION 1.  REGIONAL DIRECTORS

A. The Regional Director shall be responsible for the coordination of activities of his/her region.

B. The Director shall conduct at least one annual meeting of the Regional Advisory Council.

C. Regional Directors shall serve on the National BC/NEA Board of Directors and serve as liaison between the region and the National BC.

D. Regional Directors shall be elected to serve a term of two years.  A Regional Director may succeed himself/herself for not more than two successive terms of office.  

D.  Regional Directors shall be elected at the NEA/RA Annual meeting.

E.  Where a Regional Director is found to be guilty of misconduct or nonperformance of duties, such Regional Director may be removed for cause by the Executive Committee by a majority vote of the members of that region.

F. The process for removal shall be the same as outlined in Article III; Section 1.

 

SECTION 2.  REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

A. Each region shall have an Advisory Council made up of the State Contacts from each state in the region and presided over by the Regional Director.

B. The Council shall be advisory in purpose and jurisdiction.

 

ARTICLE VI

STATE STRUCTURE

Each state shall have a State Contact appointed by the Regional Director.

 

SECTION 1.  TERM OF OFFICE

State Contacts shall be appointed to serve a term of two years. 

 

SECTION 2.  DUTIES OF STATE CONTACT

The State Contact shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

1. To coordinate the BC activities in his/her state.

2. To establish local BC units within the state.

3. To promote the program of the BC and NEA within the state.

.4. To disseminate information in the two-way flow of communication.

5. To serve on the Regional Council.

6. To provide for and preside over an annual meeting of the state BC.

7. To preside over the meeting of the state BC Steering Committee.

8.To work with local BC members to establish the state EMAC

9.Host annual EMAC meeting with BC chair/or Regional Director prior to NEA/RA annually. This may be held during NEA/MLT Regional Conferences.

 

SECTION 3. STATE STEERING COMMITTEE

A. Each state shall elect at least the following officers:  Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The term and period of election shall be established by the Caucus and participants in that state.  These officers shall constitute the State Steering Committee.

B. The State Steering Committee shall establish guidelines for local units of the BC not to be in conflict with the National BC/NEA Governance.

 

ARTICLE VII

ANNUAL MEETING

There shall be at least one Annual Meeting of the BC at the time and place of the annual meeting of the NEA Representative Assembly.  The annual meeting shall be known as the Annual Delegate BC/NEA.

 

SECTION 1.  COMPOSITION

The Annual Delegate Caucus shall consist of registered participants of the BC who are current members of NEA.

 

SECTION 2.  POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DELEGATE CAUCUS

The Annual Delegate Caucus shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To serve as the legislative and policy-forming body of the BC/NEA.

2. To elect the officers.

3. To adopt the annual budget.

4. To act on annual reports.

5. To approve resolutions and platforms.

6. To remove officers from office by a two-thirds majority vote.

Recommendation for removal of an officer from office may be made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

 

ARTICLE VII

COMMITTEES

The standing committees of the BC/NEA shall include: Rules, Bylaws, Budget, Membership, Resolutions, Nominations, Elections, and Credentials Committees.

 

SECTION 1.  RULES

The Rules Committee shall establish the rules governing the Annual Delegate Caucus.  This committee shall consider and be the final authority over any question of procedure arising at the annual meeting.

SECTION 2.  BYLAWS

The Bylaws Committee shall review all proposed amendments to the Constitution of the BC/NEA.  It shall have the power to determine whether or not an amendment shall be submitted to the Annual Delegate Caucus.  The Bylaws Committee shall interpret the Constitution of the BC/NEA and shall be the final authority in the interpretation of the constitution.

SECTION 3.  BUDGET

The Budget Committee shall develop and submit a proposed budget to the Annual Delegate Caucus.

SECTION 4.  MEMBERSHIP

The Membership Committee shall be responsible for devising ways of increasing and maintaining financial participation in the BC/NEA.

SECTION 5.  RESOLUTIONS

The Resolutions Committee shall be responsible for reviewing the proposed resolutions, bylaws, and new business items which are before the NEA Representative Assembly and to make recommendations to the Annual Delegate Caucus with respect to those resolutions, bylaws, and new business items which affect Black and minority educators and students.  The committee shall further propose any resolutions, bylaws, and new business items for introduction to the NEA Representative Assembly for consideration by the Annual Delegate Caucus.

 

SECTION 6.  NOMINATIONS

The Nominations Committee shall present a slate of candidates for office to the Annual Delegate Caucus.  Other nominations may be made from floor.  Candidates nominated must be current financial participants of the Caucus and must meet the other criteria set forth in this Constitution.

 

SECTION 7.  ELECTIONS AND CREDENTIALS

A. The Elections and Credentials Committee shall establish rules governing BC/NEA registration and elections of the BC/NEA.

The Committee shall:

1. Conduct the voting and counting of ballots of all elections.

2. Review and serve as the final authority in challenged elections.

3. Conduct registration of participants at the Annual Delegate Caucus.

4. Certify all candidates for office.

 

METHOD OF BALLOTING:

1. Balloting will occur at the Annual Black Caucus Meeting at the time and place of the annual meeting of the NEA Representative Assembly.  This annual meeting is known as the Annual Delegate BC/NEA.

2. Balloting shall be by secret ballot.

3. All active Black Caucus members who are on the Black Caucus official membership list are eligible to vote.  The voting list will be available at the annual NEA RA Convention.

 

B.  VERIFICATION OF ELECTION RESULTS

 1. Ballots will be counted by the Elections Committee. Election results will be verified by the Elections Chair and posted at the Black Caucus meeting at the NEA RA Convention.

2Candidates shall be elected by the highest number of votes cast.

 

SECTION 8.  COMPOSITION

Each Committee of the BC/NEA shall have at least one person from each of the NEA regions plus the chairperson appointed by the National Chairperson.

 

SECTION 9.  TERM OF OFFICE

Committee members shall serve a 3 (three) year staggered term of office commencing with the 2012 appointments. This will reflect the terms of NEA Officers

 

ARTICLE IX

REPORTS

The Delegate Caucus shall receive annual reports from all committees, the Board of Directors, and the Chairperson.  The form of publication of reports of committees shall be subject to review by the Board of Directors.

 

ARTICLE X

AMENDMENTS

All amendments to this Constitution shall be submitted to the Bylaws Committee.  After the Committee’s consideration, if approved, the Bylaws Committee shall submit by May 1st, such amendments to the Annual Delegate Caucus where it must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those voting for enactment.

(Note: This Constitution was originally adopted in 1974 and revised July 2011.)