Cort Leininger: Why I’m Supporting Becca Ritchie for REA President

Cort Leininger, ELA Lindbergh HS

I’m voting for Becca Ritchie for REA President because of her unwavering stance on issues of social justice.
Becca understands the vast inequities in our school system, and she believes it is our duty to work towards eliminating them. She knows that teachers need support in these efforts, and she’s prepared to fight for them. 

I see her fighting for equity wherever I look.
The first time I saw Becca was in a picture posted to the Facebook event page for Seattle’s #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool action on 10/19/16. I didn’t know who she was at the time, but I remember being encouraged seeing her and the six other educators in the photo showing support for Renton students.

I met Becca a week and a half later at the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice Conference in Portland, where she was running a booth. I recognized her from the photo. We started talking, and I learned she had recently presented a speech to our school board showing support for Black Lives Matter At School as well. Then she started talking about the importance of the union. I could tell she was the type of person who pushes for justice from all sides.

I got to know her more when I found out about a grant she had helped the Rainier UniServ Council acquire. The grant is currently funding research and outreach related to restorative justice. Not too many schools practice restorative justice yet, but those that do generally see reduced issues with discipline, as well as a reduction in the disproportional and unjust discipline of students of color. Becca is a leader in spreading awareness about this alternative system of justice, one that will help us be more effective educators.

Becca clearly has a passion for helping teachers acquire the necessary tools to provide an equal opportunity for all of our students. I hope you join me in supporting her.
– Cort Leininger

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