Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Dear Teach STEM Stakeholders,
Last Friday, June 19, celebrated Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. One week prior, another black man, Rayshard Brooks, was murdered by police. These events highlight the cycle of racial violence committed against Black communities, which includes George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and hundreds more each year. They also highlight the resiliency of Black and minoritized communities in the face of ongoing racism.
We affirm that Black Lives Matter. We acknowledge that systemic racism exists in our communities, schools, and universities, a consequence of hundreds of years of racial injustice in the United States. We know that inequities exist in our own programs. Most obviously: the Teach STEM program is led by a majority white faculty that is not representative of the racial diversity of our students. We can and must do better.
Education remains one of the most effective mechanisms to promote racial and social justice. This summer, a paid working group of faculty, students, and alumni consultants will continue the work started last year to develop an action plan with recommendations to address inequities in CWU’s STEM teacher education and present it to the Teach STEM Steering Committee in Fall 2020. The working group will use our experiences at CWU, as well as resources such as Black Lives Matter at School, Targeted Universalism, and Journey Mapping, in order to identify and reduce systemic barriers to our students’ success. This is our start to address deeply embedded inequities that can be perpetuated by our school and University systems.
We have much to learn from each other: as students, as teachers in diverse communities, as professionals in the complex ecosystem of education, and as members of the culturally-rich communities with which you engage. We believe in racial and social justice and are committed to taking concrete steps to be a part of the solution. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for how to move forward as we work to disrupt racist power structures. We will be proactively reaching out to stakeholders for feedback on actionable steps over the next year, and please do not hesitate to contact CWU Teach STEM, Co-Director, Jennifer Dechaine (email@example.com), to provide your thoughts or feedback.
CWU Teach STEM Faculty