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Message from the Chair: Reaffirming Our Values

 

Dear C&I Community,

As educators and students of education, we have a responsibility to work against bigotry and intimidation.  It is our obligation to create and sustain spaces for learning where students feel that they belong and that they can thrive.  Sadly, in the wake of this year’s election, students all over the country and on our campus do not feel safe.  To be sure, racism, islamophobia, homophobia, antisemitism, misogyny, and xenophobia are not new to this election cycle. However, given that the language of bigotry has been overt and recurring, we are seeing the unacceptable normalizing of hate speech and intimidation in our local and national communities. As educators, we need to stand with those who are victims of bullying and bigotry and to challenge systems of oppression. James Baldwin makes this responsibility clear in “A Talk to Teachers,” a speech he delivered to a group of teachers in New York City in 1963:  “It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person.” He added that students should be taught that they have “the right and the necessity to examine everything.” 

I hope that all of us in the C&I community will take up the call to “examine everything” through reading, dialogue, and action in our university and K12 classrooms and community spaces. To do so, we must denounce white supremacy, confront hatred, and build socially just classrooms and communities. As students, faculty, staff, teachers, parents, activists, and organizers, we have myriad roles within C&I and a range of post-election responses.  Together, we can take action against bigotry and intimidation and contribute to a more humane and equitable future.

Please see our Facebook page for information, events, and to post your thoughts.

Cynthia Lewis

Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Minnesota
(612) 624-1385 (O); (612) 624-8277 (F)
lewis@umn.edu