The fall has been a busy time for all. Many of us returned enthusiastically to our classrooms, whether in community colleges, four year colleges or universities, or as teachers in K-12. We have met our students, and are now immersed into a semester nearly over. Final grades will be posted in a few weeks and conferences are being held. We are doing the work we love!
CCBC’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Program (CRTL) team are busy as well. Our trainings started in August when we introduced a new module on Implicit Bias and Restorative Justice. We were excited to open this discussion at CCBC. Our intention is to help our students as they cope with unconscious bias and micro-aggressions in hurtful encounters with faculty, staff and sometimes their peers. More about the new module in another post.
The CRTL directors, Tamisha Ponder, Maura Hill and myself, felt that a great way to stay in touch with you, educators committed to doing equity work, was to use our website to communicate directly with you. We will post a blog monthly to do just that.
As our CRTL conference chair, I wanted to address a question we get each year. This is ususally in the form of a conference survey question. Why do we always talk about race? Consequently, I decided I wanted to tackle this important question. First, I suggest that instead of posing this question to us or others, that some self-reflection should be taken. The RIQ – reflection, interpretation, and inquiry (Hollins) we often talk about as part of this work would cause a reverse question: Why not talk about race? My answer: Race undergirds all in this country. Without the creation of and institutionalization of race and racism there would be no need to discuss race. Further, it is perhaps the most important aspect of equity work. Race itself is in every room we enter. It is most certainly in our schools. To ignore it is to allow the intended and unintended inequities in our society to continue unchecked. Also, for those who pose the question, perhaps your other question is Why don’t I want to talk about race? Does it make you uncomfortable? Why? Take your time, perhaps in a written reflection to answer the question.
Attendant to this survey question is why don’t we talk about other inequities? Well, we don’t play the game of competing inequities. However, we constantly acknowledge other inequities in our CRTL work, including at our conference. We speak on inequities around ethnicity, gender, gender identification, learning differences, disabilities, sexual orientations, and more. We acknowledge and discuss the myriad of diversities when we discuss Culture and Race in our trainings and at our conference. But, while doing that, we will never stop talking about race.
Our 2020 conference theme is Infusing Classrooms and Institutions with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and will be held on Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24, 2020 at the Maritime Institute. Registration and Call for Proposals are open and information is available on our website. Our Train-the-Trainer Institute will be held pre-conference on Wednesday, April 22nd. More about that is coming as well.
As the year closes, classes end, students scatter, and we anticipate holidays and a New Year, stay in touch. Share your own stories of equity work at your institutions with us. Send us a conference proposal and register a group. We have new information, research, and data to share with you and a brand new module. Like us on Facebook and Twitter to get involved.
We look forward to seeing you in April 2020!
Jadi Z. Omowale
6th Annual CRTL Conference Chair