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Already and Not Yet

This idea comes up at my church around Christmastime, and it makes me think of the CRTL Program’s work to build culturally responsive and culturally sustaining institutions. We are already celebrating students’ own cultures and knowledge bases through reading diverse authors or exploring the lives underrepresented people. We are already encouraging the study of the voiceless throughout history, whether through narratives of enslaved peoples or oral histories of Native Americans.  We are already building empathy within our classrooms by sharing student stories of being stereotyped for wearing a hijab. We are already empowering students to take charge of their education through collaborating with them on building the syllabus. We are already doing all this.

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Maura O’Hare Hill
Assistant Professor, English
Co-Director CRTL Program

But we do not yet have equity. We have not yet closed the opportunity gap. With Whites making up 82% of faculty across the country, we do not yet have a faculty that represents our students. We still call them “gatekeeper courses.” We still have a debate about whose standards are valid. We are not there yet. Why not? Writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Pamela Newkirk references a kind of collective forgetting of the evils of segregation, and the desire for “drive-by diversity” as a few of the reasons we have not yet fulfilled the promises of the Civil Rights movement. Newkirk suggests that there is simply a lack of intention on the part of administrators in higher education. After a summer of protest, some schools are acknowledging the demands of their students for an education that reflects them and their lived experiences. But after a semester of upended teaching, will we have the energy and the focus to follow through? Without intentionally placing diversity at the center of decision-making, we are going to be stuck in “not yet” for a while.

At the 2019 CRTL conference, Dr. Chris Emdin encouraged all the attendees, and all who want “already” to be a reality, to get PhDs and to become administrators, to be in the room where it happens. That’s quite an investment of time, money, and effort, with no guarantee of a seat at the table. Leaving the classroom will be a sacrifice for many of us. But consider the impact it might make to take what we are already doing with our own students and bring it to the entire school, district, system, or campus where equity is not yet apparent.

 

Why Diversity Measures Fail: (https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/20191106-Newkirk?key=mi0Bff1vaLHL09_no2Emg_obUXPLEBAovpMAC_FECd2Fpw2dfFPEyPQTyFvCyuCJYkxhS1J1NmNXMGI5MDBvZzhvWjQybmFzMTFqT0YtZUNtWjZicVF5SXZJTQ&fbclid=IwAR00yogdVxqwq-eVwJRYWWAh3wcDaci3mocvwo7cl5GmT2PmGMvBRjpI_JA)

How we Chose to ‘Rise from the Ashes’ for Fall Focus

This summer I had the opportunity to work with the most wonderful colleagues from CCBC and how we came together is a blur. It was a moment in time catapulted by the images and recordings of unnecessary acts of violence against people of color. Our desire to do more to demonstrate and educate others that this behavior is unacceptable, is what brought us together. The idea started on a whim when Professor Ann Kaiser Stearns contacted me.

Photo of Andre Ifill

Andre’ Ifill
Assistant Professor, Wellness
Member, CRTL Advisory Committee

 I honestly communicated with her that I wasn’t psychologically in a good place because of personal past experiences with excessive use of force. She asked if there was something she could do to help, and I said, “stand and fight with me.” Standing on the sidelines isn’t enough. Almost like it was out of a movie, she said she knew some people at CCBC that are ready to fight. Next thing I know, literally later that day, we are on a Zoom call, no permission from CCBC to do anything at this point, throwing ideas out. We finally decided on what to do and asked CCBC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis if she could allot us the time at Fall Focus, the opening meeting for all faculty and staff, for a special presentation. She said yes, and trusted us to properly educate those who are open to being anti-racist. Off to work we went.

At first, we had big plans and soon came to realize that our biggest issue was time. How do you take hundreds of years of systematic inequality and condense them into 75 minutes? We wanted to include the right message, music to set the tone of urgency in addressing this and most importantly other members of the CCBC family to share their experiences, so we can see how systematic racism has affected so many members of our own family. Overall, I believe that we covered what we needed to and the overall talent of those in our virtual meetings showed up in the final product. (Watch our presentation here). The feedback was positive in most cases from the CCBC community. Unfortunately, there are some that refuse to examine the facts and face the truth about systematic racism. What I do know is that we helped inform those who wanted to learn more. There is still more work to be done though. The fight doesn’t end until true equality and equity is achieved for everyone.

One last “Thank You” to Ann, Ingrid, Amy, Vicki, Patricia, and Sakina for all the long hours and hard work that went into our presentation.

Resources: 2018 Bibliography

The CRT-L Program’s internal and external process of dialogue often reveals new–or old–resources pertinent to our work. We strive to pay attention to and to include emerging resources: books, articles, films, videos–Now Podcasts! Please send us your suggestions.

Here is our latest compilation

Keynote Speakers at #crtcon16 Dr. Lisa Williams and Dr. Pedro Noguera

Dr. Lisa Williams
Dr. Lisa Williams

Dr. Pedro Noguera
Dr. Pedro Noguera
Dr. Lisa Williams is Director of Equity and Cultural Proficiency for the Baltimore County Schools. She is the author of When Treating all the Kids the Same is the Real Problem (co-authored with Dr. Kendra Johnson, Esq.). Dr. Pedro Noguera is the Distinguished Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA. His scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions.