The following entry was written by an Iowa adjunct professor, Alex Niemi.
Today, the bus made its way to Miami, where we prepared for a rally to support the adjunct faculty at Miami Dade, the largest community college in Florida. They are getting ready to unionize! After a morning of work, we got a nice hour of downtime at the beach and then we were off to the rally.
We chanted up and down the sidewalk by Miami Dade, where a meeting was taking place between administrators and adjunct faculty. We brought the noise and supported their fight with personal stories about our own confrontations with administrators. Later, one of the organizers told us that even the security guards were touched—they aren’t unionized either and have had to make difficult sacrifices for their jobs.
Today, was also a personal first: I spoke at the rally along with several other graduate students and faculty members. This might be a natural thing for people who like performing, but if you’d asked me last year if I’d be speaking in front of a group of dedicated activists in Miami, so far from my home, I’d have laughed. I truly never imagined myself doing anything like this.
There is something meteoric, as a mentor of mine once said, about a powerful, supportive community. Our bus tour has created a community that makes me feel more empowered in returning to Iowa, a state that doesn’t support unions at all, to push even harder for faculty rights after this powerful initiative to fight for $15, free college, and get adjuncts the recognition they deserve.
I’m slowly learning that social change is something anyone can participate in, even those of us who have spent quiet lives. If you’ve ever felt that you are not the type to be an agent of change, I’m here to tell you that anyone can learn—even a girl who mostly spent her time reading books alone, imagining the bravery of others, and watching the world through her bedroom window.
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