I join in the expressions of grief and anger being demonstrated by so many here in Atlanta and across our country, sparked by the most recent example of racism and injustice against Black Americans. The senseless murder of George Floyd and the others before him has shown us again the pattern of inequality and violence our Black communities continue to face. As a college that prides itself on preparing future educators and human service professionals to be culturally responsive and equity-oriented, we acknowledge our responsibility to be a part of enacting systemic change in our communities that goes beyond transitory commentary.
Racism is the fundamental cause of social injustice we see manifested in many ways across our society. One of the drivers of inequities that lead to social injustice is the disparities seen in and resulting from our educational systems. It is embedded in the mission of our college to prepare future educators and human service professionals to disrupt the causes of these disparities and to engage their students and clients, their families and their institutions to move our society forward to a more equitable stance.
In the coming days and months, I’ll work with our college faculty, staff and students to:
- Continue and expand our implicit bias trainings to our faculty and staff.
- Support our Committee for Instructional Effectiveness in providing our faculty resources and direction on teaching and addressing classroom issues around race, ethnicity, equity and social justice.
- Provide more support to our Equity and Inclusion Committee.
- Hold focus group meetings with our students, faculty and staff to hear concerns and suggestions, and to give everyone an opportunity to be heard.
- Increase the important conversations on providing more support and collaborative activities with high-need schools and communities.
This is just a start. I’m confident our conversations will yield even more ways to respond, intervene, create and voice the changes we seek and need.
I and my colleagues in the College of Education & Human Development will continue to educate ourselves. This should never stop if we want to do our part to create a more equitable and just system for Black Americans — especially Black children — to thrive and excel. We’re open to conversations and we are willing to listen. It’s the first step of many we plan to take to make a difference.
We continue to strive to move lives forward by standing against racial injustice and working for a more equitable society.
Paul A. Alberto
College of Education & Human Development
Georgia State University