A. James McKeever PhD
WHERE I COME FROM
I have a long history of involvement in the community, social justice work, and union organizing. While working in the juvenile rehabilitation field, I created the first program in Los Angeles County to allow juveniles to take college courses while in Juvenile Hall through Mission College's ITV program. I have helped organize students, faculty, and staff through marches, teach-ins, town halls, and various other venues around budget cuts, racism, sexism, homophobia, sexualized violence, and immigrant rights. I have been a proud elected AFT1521 Executive Board Delegate for over ten years. I have served on numerous committees and task forces. Currently, I am the chair and co-founder of the AFT1521 Social Justice Committee, a member of the Union's Campus Safety Oversight Committee, Contract Action Team Member, Cope Committee Member, AFT1521 Foundation Co-Founding Member, and the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Black/African American Student Affairs. At Pierce College, I was the Chair of the History, Humanities, Philosophy, and Sociology Department. I am on the Umoja Advisory Board and the Adelante Task Force. I am the current faculty advisor for student clubs, including the Queer Straight Alliance, and the past advisor for the Sociology Club, MEChA, Feminist Club, and Resistance Against Gutting Education (RAGE). Most of all, I am a proud community college graduate as an LAVC alumnus. I also got my bachelor's degree from Cal State Los Angeles and my Ph.D. from USC in sociology.
A THRIVING CAREER
Community has always played a significant role in my life. It started with the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation system adopting me as a low-income "rough around the edges" thirteen-year-old boy raised in an alcoholic, violent, and criminal family. My involvement in the park community kept me from following in my family's footsteps and becoming a drug dealer. I had a son while in high school and moved out of my house on my McDonald's salary. Soon I became a single father, going to community college while working full time. It took me nine years to graduate from Los Angeles Valley College. Who else would give you nine years to get your two-year degree but community college? If it weren't for LAVC, I could not be here asking for your vote today. The LACCD is one of my beloved communities, a community that gave me a new life, a community I owe, a community that I want to ensure can continue to provide so much to society, a community that I love and respect.
More than a Campaign, a Movement.
This is not a campaign to merely win an election; this is a movement for change. This movement will be built on four pillars:
1. Community - I want to better the communications in the union. I wish to explore ways to create spaces and opportunities that foster conversation between adjuncts, tenured faculty, counselors, and Career Technical Education (CTE) faculty. I want us to build relationships on campus, between campuses, and with other communities. I will foster an environment of transparency by hosting a district-wide "State of Our Union Address" at least once a semester. I will be open and honest in my communications, even if the “truth hurts.” We will foster efforts at team building by increasing a culture of inclusion and continue to expand the Contract Action Team (CAT). I will implement what will be called the "Next-Gen Project," seminars teaching members the roles and duties of union officers. Doing these things will increase the unity and solidarity of our membership. Also, we will bring the community back to the community college, making each campus a support hub to the surrounding community, supporting our students, their families, and the surrounding neighborhood. They will remember we fight for them, and in turn, they will fight for us.
2. Respect – We will get the respect that our noble positions deserve. We do miraculous and honorable things for our communities. I will ensure that we get the recognition we all deserve by creating press releases highlighting your extraordinary accomplishments and student success stories.
3. Social Justice - The root of the union movement is social justice. Concepts of equity, fairness, educational access are the core values most of us embrace and fight for. The Haymarket Rebellions, A. Philip Randolph, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King being in Memphis to support the Sanitation Workers Strike on the day of his assassination, all part of unions' rich social justice history. Our union will once again embrace our social justice roots. Along with Shigueru Julio Tsuha and Zach Knorr, we created the AFT1521 Social Justice Committee to mobilize faculty that want to bring the community back to community college.
4. Collective Bargaining & Contract Enforcement - Administration will respect us and stop using the dehumanizing term of "cutting classes." Instead, we will call it what it is: "layoffs" and "pay reductions." They will stop balancing the budget on our backs, and we will force them to take a more comprehensive examination of student enrollment and retention. We will be more aggressive and better able to increase wages, health benefits, and working conditions. I can't do these things without you. That's why this is more than a campaign; it's a movement. I need you to not just vote for me but work with me. Together, we will be a stronger and more unified union. We will take the best of our past, the knowledge and hard work or our present membership, and make an even brighter future.