Our SIG has, at its heart and in our mission, a commitment to “the struggle for social justice, human rights, and democracy in education for diverse communities.” This includes a challenge to the ongoing and systemic racial oppression that we see in Ferguson and beyond. As critical education scholars, we must recognize the socializing message of this callous disregard of Black lives. We have a responsibility to reframe the discussion and illuminate that #BlackLivesMatter. We cannot afford to stay silent.
We also recognize that the academy itself perpetuates messages of racism and other forms of structural oppression of marginalized groups. We are all implicated. We urge the academic community to use their tools of power and privilege to speak and act out against continued injustices in our nation. From writing and teaching, to organizing and marching in the streets, there are many ways to voice our opposition. We believe that education is a critical component of speaking truth to power and working to dismantle oppressive systems and structures. As our CESJ mission states, “we believe that education, as a form of critical understanding, plays a crucial role in transforming society.”
Building on the ideological and political intervention the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as on the public solidarity statements from several faculty at Smith College and Portland State University, we commit to the following and encourage our communities to:
- Challenge and interrupt systemic oppression through participation in social, political, and individual actions;
- Create opportunities for critical, collective dialogue about racism, white supremacy, and other oppressive forces that affect communities of color;
- Collaborate within and across our spheres of influence (professional and personal) to develop ways to dismantle racist institutions and practices.
- Encourage White allies to remember that they they are there to support people of color rather than be at the center of the movement, to listen more than to speak, and to redirect misguided (even if well-intentioned) attempts to universalize the narrative of Black lives matter to all lives matter.
- Work with students, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel at all levels to discuss these important issues in classrooms and out-of-school contexts in ways that best support students for being agents of change.
The Executive Board of the Critical Educators for Social Justice SIG
Rita Kohli, Ph.D., Co-Chair
University of California, Riverside
Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Ph.D, Co-Chair
Michigan State University
Bianca Baldridge, Ph.D. Communications Co-Chair
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Katy Swalwell, Ph.D., Communications Co-Chair
Iowa State University
Keisha Green, Ph.D., Fiscal Co-Chair
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
La Mont Terry, Ph.D., Fiscal Co-Chair
Nicholas Hartlep, Ph.D., Program Co-Chair
Illinois State University
Cleveland Hayes, Ph.D., Program Co-Chair
University of La Verne