CPEP Solidarity and Black Anti-racism Statement
June 12, 2020
First and foremost: We affirm that Black Lives Matter, and we condemn anti-Black racism in all its forms. In a society that was founded on the genocide of native peoples and anti-black chattel slavery, it is not enough to be non-racist because white supremacy and race logic permeate every aspect of our lives. If we are to enact the world that so many of us wish to see—one in which all people are afforded the basic dignity of human life—then we must commit ourselves to anti-racism.
The Combined Program in Education and Psychology mourns the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other victims of police brutality and racist violence. We condemn the use of excessive force by police against Black communities and the violence that the carceral state perpetuates against Black and other communities of color on a daily basis. We act in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. and globally fighting for a more just and equitable future.
We, as a community, must take intentional action to dismantle white supremacy and other oppressive systems that subvert the success of students of color, especially Black academics, at every level of education.
Here is what we are doing, to begin, or continue to, counter anti-Black racism:
- Standing in solidarity with our Black colleagues, friends, and neighbors.
- Affirming the Black brilliance that we are fortunate to have in our own CPEP community and anywhere else we witness it.
- Recognizing the need to confront or continue to confront our own biases and to learn to think and act in ways that affirm and support our Black community members.
- For White community members, doing our own work to educate, or continue to educate, ourselves in anti-racist practices so our community can move forward toward justice and healing.
- Cultivating an inclusive learning environment with representation of Black and BIPOC scholarship. As educators we will model strategies and facilitate discussions that equip students (and future educators) to confront biases and take-up anti-racist practices.
- Critically examining the department, school and university systems, policies, and procedures that inherently uphold Whiteness as the norm and reinforce racism
- Speaking up as agents of change within our community and beyond for children, youth, and adults in communities, schools, and colleges across the United States.
To begin to enact these commitments, we developed an action plan (CPEP Action Plan June 2020) and offer some specific action steps for our CPEP community:
To stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues and students in academia, friends, and neighbors by working with organizations that promote anti-racist practices; refusing to act as a bystander when unjust actions are taken against Black peoples; and donating (for those who are able) to organizations working for transformative justice (e.g., Black Lives Matter; Minnesota Freedom Fund; Official George Floyd Memorial Fund; Detroit Bail Project)
- How To Be An Antiracist (by Ibram X. Kendi) [UM ebook]
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (by Robin DiAngelo) [UM ebook]
- We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom (by Bettina Love) [UM ebook]
- How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (by Manning Marable)
- Fatal Invention (by Dorothy Roberts)
- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (by Ibram X. Kendi; free audiobook version)
To cultivate an inclusive learning environment with representation of Black and BIPOC scholarship, using resources such as these: Teaching Tolerance, New York Times article on teaching ideas for conversations about race, the UM’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, or the APA practice brief for educators of diverse populations.
To examine and hold accountable the University and challenge the status quo of academia use resources like these: Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (American Civil Liberties Union), ASA President’s statement on Black Lives Matter and the rebellion of 2020. To speak up as agents of change, contact elected representatives (e.g. County Attorney of Minneapolis Mike Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or local reps see Contacting Ann Arbor/Detroit reps; 5 Calls app helpful) or act on suggestions in Justice For Breonna (List of resources and action steps provided by community organizers in Louisville, KY), sign petitions (change.org - Justice for George Floyd) or write to Michigan reps re: new law on police brutality.
- Contact information for U.S. Senators
- Contact information for U.S. House of Representatives
- Contact information for Michigan Senate
- Contact information for Michigan House of Representatives
Links for additional resources:
Resources, statements, or materials to which CPEP Community Members have contributed:
- Tabbye Chavous via NCID, Video Toolkit to Support the Well-Being of Students of Color
- Nell Duke and Ernest Morrell’s “Knee on the Neck” Essay
- Debbie Rivas-Drake & Bernardette Pinetta’s “Primer” and webinar for CASEL for parents: https://bit.ly/2UhpYSO
- Society for Research on Adolescence Statement on Anti-Racism and Social Justice: https://www.s-r-a.org/sra-statement