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AFT-Maryland Welcomes PSRPs to Baltimore for Annual Conference

The Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel (PSRP) division of the AFT is filled with labor activists and leaders who give their all for students and families while helping shape the school community. Across the country, PSRPs do a number of jobs including but not limited to cafeteria workers, janitors, facility managers, office staff, and paraeducators. A collection of those activists came from across the nation to Baltimore, Maryland for the 2023 AFT PSRP Conference. 

The conference got underway with a rousing performance from the Singing Sensations, under the direction of Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) Local 340 member Dr. Hollie Hood-Mincey. The outstanding youth choir out of Baltimore city brought the conference to their feet with soulful gospel sounds and a rendition of Motown hits older than the student singers. Those in attendance sang and danced in jubilation as the young people fanned out into the crowd to find partners to dance with during their performance of Martha and the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street.” 


we think the conference was only a song and dance, AFT-Maryland President Kenya Campbell set the tone for the weekend with her welcoming remarks Friday night. “In Baltimore, we give our people their flowers,” President Campbell said to the audience adding “we know the work that education professionals like ourselves and especially our PSRPs do on a daily basis may not be what leads the headlines but is what changes schools and communities for the better.” President Campbell used the welcoming address to acknowledge PSRP leaders from Baltimore who have been influential leaders in the AFT such as Dr. Lorretta Johnson and BTU PSRP Chapter Chair and AFT-Maryland Vice President Sandra Davis.

AFT Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram was glad the conference was in Baltimore and he was eager to support members who do so much for schools and communities. “Our PSRPs are the spine, the bedrock. They cook it, they clean it, they fix it, they drive it, this is what we do,” Ingram said. He made sure to also acknowledge his predecessor,

Dr. Lorretta Johnson who was adorned with praise and appreciation all weekend. The reverence makes sense. Johnson made her way up the ranks through the Baltimore Teachers Union, eventually serving as the president of the Baltimore Teachers Union Paraprofessionals Chapter, President of AFT-Maryland, and Secretary-Treasurer of AFT; retiring with the status Secretary-Treasurer emeritus. Johnson, along with AFT Vice President and PSRP Program and Policy Council Co-Chair Shelvy Abrams were honored at a luncheon for their tireless commitment and dedication to PSRPs. 

The conference featured workshops that covered active shooters in school, dealing with students coping with trauma, social media messaging, member-to-member organizing, and much more. PSRPs even got a special message from singer Montell Jordan who’s 1995 hit song “This is How We Do It” served as the theme for the conference. Jordan recognized the invaluable work PSRPs do and sung a few notes from his song to the delight of all in attendance. 



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