The peak heat of late August signals the coming of brisk cool fall temperatures. Those brisk days are also a reminder that school is back in session. In preparation for the upcoming school year, Mayor Brandon Scott held a Back to School Event at War Memorial Plaza just in front of Baltimore’s City Hall. According to the Mayor’s office, the event drew over 2,000 attendees. AFT-Maryland participated in the event and had a wonderful time engaging the community and informing those who are unaware of the state federation’s work, just what we do.
The state federation distributed hundreds of books, many bilingual, to children and families in attendance. We also engaged a host of members, some of whom learned that their union was affiliated with AFT-Maryland, AFT, and the AFL-CIO. Under the direction of President Kenya Campbell the state federation has been deeply involved in the community. President Campbell noted that as a state federation representing public employees, AFT-Maryland is showing up where our members already are. “Our members work and live in the community. Their work is to serve the community; so it is imperative that we be here so our members and the residents they serve see us, know us, and know the valuable work our members do for the community,” Campbell said.
One example of our members serving the community included crossing guards who were working the Back to School event. Crossing guards are a part of the AFT-Maryland family through their membership in the City Union of Baltimore (CUB) local 800. Those workers spent time conversing with CUB president Antoinette Ryan-Johnson at the AFT-Maryland table. Members of the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) local 340 made their way to the AFT-Maryland table engaging in conversation and picking up books for their children who were also getting ready to head back to school.
AFT-Maryland’s table was also a stop for city leaders. Council members and state legislative representatives made a point to come to the table and help distribute books, talk with community members, and AFT-Maryland staff and leadership. Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonia Santelises exchanged warm greetings with President Campbell.
Mayor Scott spent time with the AFT-Maryland team as well, taking in first-hand how the book distribution complemented the backpack distribution the city was providing. He talked with state federation leaders as he moved around through the event. The state federation was joined by Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO President Courtney Jenkins, who also aided in distributing books, pencil cases, and other supplies the state federation provided for students as they prepared to head back to school.
AFT-Maryland was thrilled to be part of this event, and wishes all families and school employees a happy Back to School!