The PhD in Social Justice program was founded on the belief that education is a conduit, which can break the cycle of racism and give rise to social justice. We, the students and faculty from the Department of Learning and Teaching in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego denounce and stand in opposition to the dehumanizing police violence and brutality represented by George Floyd’s murder, and that of the countless other Black people assaulted and killed by police.
We, as a social justice collective of educational leaders, are committed to uplifting and providing a better quality of life for our community. We are change agents, scholars, and activists fighting against systemic and institutional racism, police brutality, and inequities in education. We believe that we cannot achieve justice regarding racial, educational, political, economic, climate, or any other form of injustice, if it stifles a person’s human rights. An injustice against one person is an injustice against all.
We are called to act and to defend the rights and liberties of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), including those marginalized due to their sexual orientation and gender identities. The unheard voices of BIPOC are those within the American tapestry who exist in collective oppression and are often excluded from full participation as citizens in our democracy. They have been profiled, detained, and denied their rights – their humanity asphyxiated.
As the students and faculty of the Department of Learning and Instruction that represents social justice, we stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters, with all of our brothers and sisters, in stating that we stand for:
- Black Lives
- Dismantling white supremist ideology, systems, and structures in our own institutions
- Anti-racist and equitable hiring practices
- Culturally and linguistically relevant, responsive, proficient, and sustaining teaching
- The prevention of the loss of innocence of black, indigenous, and people of color from the experience of systemic racism
- Substantial transformation in policies and the institution of policing
- Advancing teaching and research to call out systemic injustices, especially those that manifest in the institution of education
- Deliberately confront inequities with research, data and evidence that lead to actionable reforms for African Americans and all marginalized populations
Policing. Historically, policing as a system was designed to establish control and order in the service of white supremacy and economic gains for the dominant class. The US institution of policing is an extension of slavery and Jim Crow era policies in the south and a servant to political and economic hegemony in the north, meant to dehumanize Blacks (and other POC) as a means to maintain economic disparities in labor forces in service of hegemony (Muhammad, 2010; Abdelfatah & Arablouei, 2020). This relationship between law enforcement and people of color has racialized the American justice system through fear and suppression symbolized by a knee to the neck. The lack of response to years of brutality and injustice cannot be accepted through silence.
Protesting. Protesting and demonstrating are ways to express resistance to acts of violence and as such is a form of advocacy and activism whose goal is to create meaningful institutional change. We’re seeing and experiencing this form of protest, this expression of solidarity today with all people of color standing for social justice against a white body supremacy.
Schooling. We challenge all educators to look at their k-12 and higher education institutions. Does the staff, leadership and teachers represent the student body? Does it represent the communities around the school, the district or county? We can all benefit from diversity; from anti-racist and equitable hiring practices that encourage the hiring of people of color.
Healing. In order to build and regain trust, to unite and to heal historically oppressed communities, we need restorative justice. Restoring relationships through meaningful and critical conversations is essential. So, we implore you to build relationships with Black families and BIPOC communities. We ask that you help students and colleagues across all racial and ethnic groups more deeply understand the realities of Black people’s interactions with law-enforcement officers. Let us restore humanity through action and social activism. We need to rise together, to stand for equity, to learn about our combined and individual histories, and to actively listen to each other for the betterment of humankind.
Leading with solidarity,
Department of Learning and Teaching PhD Students and Faculty
Muhammad, K.G. (2010). The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America. Harvard University Press, MA.
Abdelfatah, R. & Arablouei, R. (Hosts). (2020, June 4). American Police. In Throughline. NPR. https://www.npr.org/transcripts/869046127