Maya Walker, CA

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As the library technician at Hayward High School, I get the opportunity to work with students and teachers every day. It’s my responsibility to ensure that our library has the books, resources and materials that not only help students succeed in school and life, but also reflect the diversity of our students.

Hayward is a very diverse community and it’s important that all students see their culture reflected in their school. It’s equally important that as educators, we expose students to diverse cultures that may not be part of their own heritage and practices, so we can all better understand each other. Our school library makes these connections for students and their families.

There is no greater joy than having a student express surprise and delight that the library reflects their unique experiences as a member of an underrepresented group. Recently, a student was excited to view all the books and decorations for a Native American Heritage Month display.

These are the students that my union and I fight for every day. As budget cuts forced many schools across California and the entire country to close their libraries, we were able to ensure that Hayward students still had access to these essential resources and support by working with parents and community members through the union.

As a union member, I know I have a voice and that by negotiating together, we are ensuring quality public schools in Hayward. I worry that with a wrong decision in the Friedrichs case, I would not be able to advocate for my students and it would be harder for me to help students and their families get the information and education resources they need to succeed.