Board of Directors Human Rights Committee Reports
As we enter 2022, SEIU Local 1000 members have the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments over the last year by our Human Rights committees. By highlighting the diversity of the workers we represent, our committees help members take ownership of the issues that impact them and their communities. As part of the December 2021 Board of Directors (BOD) meeting, our committees met to provide fellow members with insight into their respective missions, encourage involvement, and allow interested listeners a peek into the fishbowl of everyday affairs.
Rick J. Rocha, the SEIU Local 1000 Veterans Committee Chair, presented the Veterans Committee introductions, roles, focus, and assignments. The committee voted to extend the annual committee budget and identified the need for committee events, including an annual Veterans turkey/ham voucher as well as a Veterans Committee charter to script the committee policy.
To encourage member participation, members were invited to join the meeting and participate in the Q & A portion of the event. The meeting concluded with closing remarks by Chairperson Rocha, who said “The intent of this committee is to invest in our veteran members, increase veteran membership and support Local 1000 President Richard Louis Brown’s 10-point plan.”
In addition to Chairman Rocha, committee member attendees/participants included Committee Liaison Lonnie Williams, Valerie Williams, and Secretary Carolyn Alluis.
Environmental Committee members Eddie Isaacs (Chair), Karen Jefferies, and Shrhonda Ward were joined by Local 1000 staff member Sarah McGinn, who filled in for Richard Guerrero. The committee discussed the March on Sacramento event sponsorship scheduled for February 26, 2022, and will ask the organizers to consider a sponsorship level below the current $5,000 base level.
Additionally, the Committee discussed solitary and group activity arrangements for Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Chairperson Isaacs will lead these efforts and serve as the contact for Earth Day activities through the SEIU Local 1000 Environmental Committee website and Facebook page.
Native American Committee
The SEIU Local 1000 Native American Committee (NASEIU) met regularly during the last half of 2021, and in September Eileen Boughton was appointed chairperson by Local 1000 President Richard Louis Brown with the consent of the appointed members.
NASEIU was created by the Board of Directors in 2020. Members are united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers in governmental services. NASEIU is reviewing State policies and programs that affect or impact Indigenous State employees as well as all of Turtle Island (the name that many indigenous people use for the North American continent). The Committee has written and published several articles on these issues that can be read here.
NASEIU Chair Boughton was recently invited to dance with her Pomo relatives at the opening of an art exhibit at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. Members of NASEIU accompanied her to this performance and had the opportunity to see the exhibit, which featured works created by contemporary Pomo artists alongside paintings by the 19th century French painter Jules Tavernier. The Pomo people historically lived—and continue to do so—in an area stretching across the coastal mountains from Clear Lake to the Pacific Ocean.
The most impressive painting in this exhibit is Tavernier’s “Dance in a Subterranean Roundhouse at Clear Lake, California”, which “chronicles a cultural interaction on November 22, 1875, between California Indians in their homelands and outsiders associated with the Sulphur Bank Quicksilver Mining Company operating on Elem ancestral lands. In the ensuing years, the mine would cause widespread mercury contamination of the lake, with grave and long-lasting repercussions for the Elem community.” Mr. Tavernier’s realistic portrayals of the indigenous people of North America were critically-acclaimed for their artistry but ultimately the artworks were misused to portray the native people as savages and justify the taking of their ancestral lands and ensuing genocide.
In preparation for the December Board of Directors meeting, committee members prepared this opening presentation with a land acknowledgement and blessing:
Let us acknowledge with respect the Nisenan Miwok people on who’s unceded, ancestral, traditional land we work and live, the land where the great rivers of the north state join, the people whose historical relationships with that land and water continue to this day. Our relatives the Nisenan Miwok are still here and will remain here.
Let us acknowledge the water, all the watersheds throughout the state, the water on which we drink, bathe and use daily, water is life. Ka’ A Se’mon’
The days of colonization are over. The removal of our children is over. Our land, our water, our voice, our language will continue to return this day and all days ahead.
We and all of our children and grandchildren are still in the hearts and spirit of our ancestors. We are the blood of our ancestors. We will continue to walk with them in dignity and respect and will continue to strive to protect and respect the lands and water of mother earth.
We all come from the sacred Medicine Wheel, we are Red, Yellow, Black, and White. We all come from the four directions East West North and South.
Please take a moment of silence for the missing and murdered indigenous people and those children whose remains are now being found within the boarding schools’ grounds.
It is our hope that all of you recognize on whose indigenous lands you work and live, that you recognize and pay homage to the 1st nations people, and to the water, the medicine that cares for you. It is our hope that you bring this message back to your members and carry this message in all the meetings you hold, no matter how big or small.
The NASEIU Committee was then introduced, including Jill Joiner(Dakota/Lakota), Erica Radovan (Pomo), Frankie Luallen (Cherokee), Keri Dean (Cherokee), Sylvia Castro (Otomi), Jane Schafer Kramer (Mason / non-indigenous ally), Dana Meza (Chippewa/Cree), Misty Mastella (Northern Cheyenne/Blackfoot), Eileen Boughton (Pomo).
SEIU Local 1000 members are welcome to participate in NASEIU planning and activities. If interested, contact the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org