Dear Education Majors and Minors,
We, the faculty members of the Southwestern University Education Department, are grieving the inexcusable and utterly brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We are sad, angry, and disgusted. Though we are experiencing a confluence of our own emotions, we are committed to honoring the memories of those who have succumbed to racist domestic terrorism. Their Black Legacies Matter.

As a department, we recognize ways in which systematic oppression and the long history of racism and white supremacy adversely affect our nation’s institutions of higher education. We recognize that, historically, colleges and universities unilaterally benefit from structures of power and privilege. We recognize that within these structures, voices of black students, faculty, and staff, are systematically and intentionally silenced. In addition, we recognize that our silence against anti-black rhetoric, racism, white supremacy, oppression and the marginalization of black voices and bodies would render us complicit. So, for us, silence is not an option and we will not remain silent, nor will we allow the voices of our black university community to remain silent. Specifically, when our collective communities speak, we must listen to (hear) each other, and act (do) accordingly. A powerful piece that addresses the importance of listening follows:

We must work together to heal this divide and rebuild our communities by committing to let no voice go unheard. Our first step must be to listen to one another — to sincerely lean in and hear what the person who is different from us is saying.

George Floyd, in your final gasps for breath, we hear you.
Breonna Taylor, in your besieged home, we hear you.
Ahmaud Arbery, as your footsteps pounded the ground, running for your life, we hear you.
Victims of violence, poverty and injustice, we hear you.
Communities and lives torn apart by riots, we hear you.
People of privilege learning a better way, we hear you.
Mothers and fathers of every race doing the best you can to teach your children to love and not hate, we hear you.

– L. Fitzgerald, New York Times, 6/7/2020

Through this Education Department statement, we are speaking out against the disproportionate racialized violence that continues to plague black communities, and we are extending our support to stand in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our own black faculty member, Dr. Alicia Moore – we pledge to hear you. We believe that Black Lives Matter - period.

Southwestern University adopted a set of core values that we, as a department, believe require a renewed commitment to racial equity for Black Americans. In particular, we want our students to know that we commit to (1) respecting the worth and dignity of persons and (2) encouraging activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good. Additionally, the Education department pledges to remain vigilant in our teaching for social justice initiatives in the university classroom and as we prepare future teachers even after the headlines and protests have subsided. We pledge to work together to make real change through the dismantling of racism and anti-black sentiments in our PK-12 schools. Our Education department’s Teaching for Social Justice goals, for our graduates and ourselves, serve as a call to committed action.

Education Faculty and Students will…

  1. demonstrate openness and empathy for the lived experiences of Black youth in schools and speak out against systems or plans that negatively impact them.
  2. understand the alignment between wealth, power and privilege in educational practices; understand the historical, systemic inequities that are still reinforced by today’s educational practices, including disciplinary measures that perpetuate marginalization and criminalization of Black youth; actively seek to identify and dismantle oppressive structures, within and beyond the classroom, that perpetuate systemic inequalities that impact Black students.
  3. examine through reflection and open discussion what I bring into a space that may perpetuate inequalities in education for Black students and their families; support students through the uncomfortable and continuous self-reflective work of identifying racism and microaggressions and aid learners as they develop strategies for change; and make a commitment to be anti-racist and fight against the injustices that impact Black youth.
  4. actively develop and integrate content into the curriculum that reflects the diverse experiences and voices of the historically silenced; identify people and movements that have been successful in fighting for equity for Black students and families and explore how these successes provide hope and contribute to the body of work for Black activists and educators to partner in teaching for social justice; actively seek the wisdom of impacted communities, listen to and amplify voices of color and marginalized groups on what change is needed and how it should be done; commit to a pedagogy that acknowledges the intersectional oppression; recognize how democratic ideals are effective in gaining justice and equity.
  5. develop and apply a variety of strategies for addressing injustice, racism, and violence against Black students, families, and colleagues in different contexts (classroom, school, community, nation, and world); develop strategies for centering Black voices in these situations and prepare teachers to partner with students in this work, as allies; build classroom communities that value diversity, justice and critical thinking to empower students to be agents of change.
  6. challenge educational policies and practices based on reductionist approaches that presume limited abilities in Black students and that result in limited choices, creativity and opportunity; challenge educational practices that result in the over-identification of Black students in special education and under-identification for gifted education; design instructional opportunities that emphasize student interests, connection to the lived experiences of Black students, and enriched opportunities to express their knowledge and skills.
  7. understand the alignment of national and state standards to a teaching for social justice initiative; explore the challenges of being leaders in teaching for social justice and prepare for a sustained focus on this important work as educators and as humans who care for the protection and celebration of Black lives.

Add your name in support.

Signed,
Alicia Moore, Associate Professor of Education and Chair
Sherry Adrian, Associate Professor of Education
Michael Kamen, Professor of Education
Stephen Marble, Associate Professor of Education
Debbie Shepherd, Visiting Instructor of Education
Alice Sullivan, Part-Time Assistant Professor of Education
Nichole Aguirre ST ’12
Nekia Becerra ’12
Paige Duggins-Clay ’14
Emma Lynch ’15
Kim Ralph ’12

131 Signees

Erika Berroth, Associate Professor of German
Brandi Campos ‘19
Yvonne Jaubert Smith ‘04
Leonie Dsouza
Angelia Dumes
Kimberly Smith, Professor of Art History
Amanda Partida
Chareena Crawford ’20
Meili Criezis ‘17
Emily Smith ‘15
Wil Mekelburg ‘20
Grace Johnson ‘23
Gracie Huber ‘22
Mariana Quetzeri ‘21
Eliz Russell ‘22
Katie Rydell ‘21
Summer Newton ’22
Danielle Brown ‘22
Brianna Whitfield-Pintarelli ‘15
Anne Bannister ‘14
David Boutté ‘14
Emmett Gonzalez ‘16
Dr. Patti Shaffer, ’93
Lorin Miller ‘14
Jacob Brown ’14
Hannah Houk ‘22
Hector Aleman ‘18
Anne Lynch
Paul Secord, Vice President for University Relations
Eric Selbin, Professor of Political Science
Melissa Johnson, Professor of Anthropology and Race and Ethnicity Studies
Dr. Charles Prince ‘1`0
Blythe Nava ‘15
Eric R. Gonzales ’12
Sarah Wilson ‘02
Marissa Irvin, Early Childhood Special Educator
Makaylee Frederick ‘17
Erika Berroth
Lisa Hasegawa Perez ‘06
Carolyn Hise, Cooperating Mathematics Public Ed Teacher with SU Student Teachers
Laurie Avery ’14
Jessica Keen-Richard ‘05
Casey Grier Blades ‘09
Amy Lipp ’99
Regina A. Earls
Addie Henry ‘19
Elisa Sommer ‘06
Katie Sokolyk Catron
Brooke Taylor ’16
Rachel Blakeslee ‘11
Mary Del Rosario ‘09
Noorie Han ‘17
Dishon Isaac
Tracy Machu ’05
Jill Horton
Ali Wroblewski ‘13
Mary Emma Gary ’19
Melissa K. Byrnes, Associate Professor of History
Relda Comer ’15
Heather York
Rebekah Weisman ‘12
Kati DeHaven ‘17
Amy Marshall Millis ‘95
Abby Dings, Associate Professor of Spanish
Jenny Gebhardt ‘15
Julie Sievers
Dan Hilliard, Emeritus Professor of Sociology
Kelly Myers ’12
Sharon Campbell
Abe Ramirez ‘13
Michael Cooper, Margarettt Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts and Professor of Music
Zoe Cordes Selbin ‘15
Lizette Villarreal ‘13
Sontosha Orbin ‘17
Mandi Griffin, 08
Arthur Garcia III ’17
Melissa Hinojosa ‘08
Terri Johnson
K Gordon ‘08
Shelby Lujan ‘12
Wayne Munger ‘14
Melanie Hoag, Instructional Technologist
Jeana García
Melissa Bean ‘13
Abby Brody
Florastine Mack
Julia Strange ‘12
Sarah Millerhouse ‘05
Erika Macht
Jessica Jones ‘15
Jodi Beaubien
Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton
Caty Winslow’97
Jena Razavi ’12
Sharon Johnson, Associate Professor of Education, Retired
Elaine McKinney
Abigail Luna ‘20
Holly Brothers Dittrich ‘95
Jo Liza Barrera ‘16
Cozette Palmer ‘17
Angela Lumpkin ‘10
Marilyn Harden
Alicia Jumonville
Madison Edwards ‘18
Michele Kent ’13
Suzanne García-Mateus, Former Visiting Assistamt Professor
Travis Ulbrich ’17
Sevara Sobhani
Amy Gu ‘17
Trinh Ha
Lynn Eaton
Katrina Bailey
Kevela Kirby
Kevela Kirby
Hailey David ‘18
Jordan VanNess ‘16
Brandi Millsap Gomez ‘02
Margaret Messenger ‘00
Valerie Sterne ‘02
Lashelle Williams ‘15
Jeanne Wehde `15
Jeanne Wehde `15
Kim Cavett ‘08
Jessica Murray ‘13
Roderica Johnson ‘14
Kelly Goodson ‘10
Cori Gagliardi’15
Adriane Dorsey ‘04
Taryn Robertson ‘11
Taryn Robertson ‘11
Antonia Renfroe ’22


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