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Member Spotlight

Lynda Wolfe Smith: Advocate for Voting Rights

Lynda Wolfe Smith is a retired social studies teacher from Atlanta, Georgia
Lynda Wolfe Smith
Published: 01/03/2022

Both of my parents were politically active and involved in the NAACP when I was younger. My dad served as president of the local chapter of the International Longshoremen's Association and my mom helped register voters, so union engagement and advocacy were in my blood.
 
I was an Atlanta Public Schools teacher for 30 years and a substitute for another 14 years—and I never had an issue with speaking up.
 
As a social studies teacher, I tried to teach lessons outside of our textbooks. When I taught American History, I’d spend about 15 minutes going through the book’s table of contents with the students, and then I’d develop the lesson from there. I think teaching and learning are spontaneous about 60 percent of the time—and not all the lessons are found in textbooks.
 
I became more involved with the Georgia Association of Educators retired division and the union after I left the classroom full-time.
 
Even in retirement, it’s important for educators to keep fighting. And, after going through the last election, it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do.
 
Part of that work includes pushing back against Georgia’s oppressive new voter law. We’re working to engage retired educators on the state level around policy issues at a moment’s notice. Our focus has been addressing voter suppression across Georgia through voter education. We go to senior centers and help people navigate the voter registration and absentee ballot process. 
 
As educators, we can’t teach in isolation. We all need to speak what we know and speak what we need without fear.

National Education Association

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.