California Educator

April/May 2024

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Denisha Jordan United Teachers Los Angeles AFRICAN AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD IN HONOR OF LOIS TINSON William (Billy) Scott is a member of the Del- aware/Cherokee Nation and Osage Nation. He teaches classes on Native American heritage, culture and tribal values. He has lobbied and fought for 25 years for all Native American students to be offered equal educational oppor- tunities in K–12 and colleges/universities. Scott was instrumental in convincing the University of California to offer free tuition to all Native Americans and is still trying to get the California State University system to offer the same. He has worked with school districts, educational programs and Nike N7 (Nike's investment in non- profits that elevate Indigenous commu- nities through youth access to sport, and helps eliminate the stereotyping of Native American people). He is a member of the National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Edu- cation Association and Fresno State University Native American Club. He has been a positive role model to all Native Americans. He received an athletic scholarship to Fresno State University and played profes- sionally in the Canadian Football League. He also obtained his B.S. and two M.S. degrees along with his California teaching credential. As a licensed general contractor he has assisted Native Americans in getting their license, and learning about government set-aside contracts and other small business programs. While working with Running Strong he solic- ited corporations for donations to build housing on reservations and spent many summers per- forming the labor to build those homes. Scott 's biggest accomplishment is when one of his Native American students graduates from college. He tells them, "Now it 's your responsibility to make time and help the next future generation." Denisha Jordan leads by example, refusing to accept mediocrity and relentlessly pursuing excellence. Her integrity, coupled with her commitment to positive change, has made her a pivotal figure in educational and community development. As a member leader of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), she has significantly contributed to shaping policy and decision-making processes, ensuring that African American voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. Her role as a policy influencer has been crucial in advocating for equality and upholding the rights and interests of African Americans in the education community. Jordan has 22 years of teaching experience. "She communicates with students through her language of perseverance, her language of love," said Stacey Yakimovich Chavez, who nominated Jordan for the award. " You hear the love that she pours into her classroom." Jordan's work preserving and teach- ing African American history, culture and values has profoundly influenced students, peers and the broader com- munity. As a cofounder of LA Educators for Racial Justice, she developed programs focused on racial equality, cultural awareness and inclusivity in schools. This includes advocating for the end of school policing on high school campuses. Jordan promoted human rights and racial justice as Women's Advocacy Coordinator for UTLA/NEA's Equity Team. She fostered an inclusive and empowering environment, inspiring African Amer- ican women within the union to embrace their leadership potential while emphasizing the transformative power of love. As a CTA Equity Team Women's Advocate, she tackled specific challenges encountered by African American women in education, driving for- ward initiatives that support development and leadership. William H. Scott Porterville Educators Association AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKA NATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD IN HONOR OF JIM CLARK 33 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 24

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