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A San Francisco high school teacher and a union leader in Crockett are among nine educators in California named as winners of the California Teachers Association’s Human Rights Awards.

The awards honor teachers for their outstanding commitment to social justice and for promoting and protecting human and civil rights, both in the classroom and in their wider school communities, according to a CTA news release.

The two Bay Area winners include VanCedric Williams, a member of the United Educators of San Francisco, and Magret Nunes of Crockett, where she is president of the John Swett Education Association.

Williams, an Oakland resident who won a seat last year on the board of the Oakland Unified School District, is the recipient of the African American Human Rights Award in Honor of Lois Tinson.

The union’s citation for Williams reads: “Inspired to become an educator more than 20 years ago because he recognized the need for young black males to have positive role models, he has established a historically accurate curriculum that weaves in African American and other groups’ cultures and challenges his students to set rigorous standards. Williams was elected in 2021 to the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education and has worked tirelessly to eliminate the opportunity gap for students. Beyond the classroom, he leads a BIPOC student mentoring program.”

(Video courtesy of California Teachers Association/YouTube)

Nunes is the recipient of the CTA Member Human Rights award.

The union’s citation for Nunes reads:

“As the president of the John Swett Education Association, Nunes established Social Justice Activists, a representative group in her district that met monthly to address equity issues. From there she created district equity teams to disseminate information to school sites as part of a five-year equity plan. She also created a student branch of SJA, and has secured numerous grants to advance social justice initiatives.”

The other seven winners were from Southern California.

“At a time when there are far too many outside forces seeking to stoke division and fear, these inspired educators are showing us how to tackle our past and present honestly, confront injustice, and educate with integrity and courage,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “They are showing us how to create a more equitable future so that all our students can think critically, see themselves in our classrooms and curriculum and have the opportunity to succeed.”