I recently had the privilege of attending the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) conference in Washington D.C. where my colleague Karon Weber and I had the opportunity to present Yahoo! for Teachers at a workshop being held at the 2007 AFT QuEST Conference.
One thing that really struck me was how progressive the AFT is in their approach to teaching as well as their positions on social issues. There were several booths that centered around what the AFT membership could do to support AIDS Advocacy, Genocide Awareness in Darfur, and Democracy in Africa.
"As men and women of conscience and as educators committed to the dignity and worth of all humanity, we have a responsibility to speak out against injustice on behalf of vulnerable and disenfranchised peoples across the globe." ~ 2006 AFT resolution on Opposition to the Genocide in Darfur
The AFT-Africa AIDS Campaign is a multi-country campaign in partnership with African teacher unions to provide resources to fight the spread of this disease. The impact of AIDS in the teaching community is staggering.
"This year in South Africa, more than 1,000 teachers will die of AIDS. In Zimbabwe more than 30 percent of the country's teachers carry the HIV virus. Many school age children have lost a parent to the epidemic. Throughout Africa, the statisics tell a similar story--teachers' lives lost and whole education systems endangered (Source: AFT-Africa AIDS Campaign)."
Here are some of the excellent resources complied by the AFT to help teachers educate their students on issues related to Africa, HIV and AIDS.
- Jim Lehrer NewsHour > Sudan
- Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur > Teaching Resources
- Understanding Sudan
- Choices Program > Darfur Lesson Plans
- Darfur is Dying > Interactive Games