GCOE Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Black Lives Matter

June 2020

The leadership of the Graduate College of Education at San Francisco State University stands in solidarity with all of our Black colleagues, Black students, and the Black Lives Matter movement to renew our longstanding commitment to social justice and to identify and eliminate racism and anti-Blackness in ourselves, our relationships, our courses, our systems, and in the community through the educators and clinicians we prepare. We own this responsibility as educators.

Over the past weeks we have witnessed and participated in a sustained protest against police brutality and racism toward Black people, and we are deeply saddened by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and sadly, many others, going back to Emmett Till, and still more before him. We are immersing ourselves in the urgent outpouring of first-hand narratives, reports, and calls to action in support of Black lives and rights, and are standing in opposition to the status quo. We are hearing what we have known at some level but can no longer ignore, either as individuals or as a society: generations of Black Americans have experienced and continue to experience inhumane treatment, unfairness, discrimination, and unequal access to opportunities. Since the time of enslavement, our country has been built around systems perpetuating the racist treatment of Blacks while giving preference to serving the white population. This pattern of systemic racism includes education. Black people are continuing to fight for their lives.

In the Graduate College of Education, we have work to do.

In this moment, we must first look at ourselves and ask, "How has my own privilege allowed me to contribute to the perpetuation of systemic racism?" Next, we must ask, "In what ways can I be part of the resolution to my family, in my community and in my country?" Then, we must end our silence and cast off our apathy, move past our critiques and take positive actions to effect change.

We will work together with honesty to identify and eliminate those aspects of our systems and our behaviors that harm Black students and colleagues. The lives, voices, and experiences of Black students and colleagues matter.

We will make space in our meetings for difficult and courageous conversations, in a context of care and humility, about anti-Blackness, whiteness, power and privilege, and anti-racist education.

We will generate and use more and better data to help us understand and improve the experiences of Black students.

We will examine our curriculum and instructional practices for ways to challenge racism and white supremacy and to include and value Black experience, history, and culture. We will check the process with which curriculum is created in our college to ensure full participation and representation.

We will ensure access, belonging, fairness, inclusivity, and success for Black students and all students of color at each touch point of the student journey into and through our college: recruitment, admissions, advising, program requirements, recommendations, career advising, and graduation.

We will seek out clinical and fieldwork experiences for our students that help future educators and clinicians develop understanding and respect for Black lives and culture and serve as change agents.

We will value, acknowledge, and support the research and scholarly activity of Black students and colleagues.

We make these commitments with the agreement and understanding that this work is essential, ongoing, individual, collective, and represents what the Graduate College of Education stands for.