The CSUSM School of Education is committed to social justice and equity. This page is a collection of information, resources, and open letters surrounding our responsibility to this end. We welcome your feedback and invite you to share resources with us that will help us and all educators teach these difficult subjects and advocate for an improved system with grace, knowledge, and reflection. Thank you.
10 September 2020
"As you may be aware, the Trump administration recently administered a blistering critique of anti-racist professional development. In doing so, he referred to critical race theory - a chief area of study for me - as Un-American and essentially banned its use in professional development funded by federal dollars. I got together with a few of my colleagues this week and wrote a response. It has been signed by another 220 scholars of race in education. If you'd like to sign, add your name to the critique...
I've also included the names of the over 250 teachers and scholars who have signed... You can also find an online version of the statement on Medium. Also, check out this Critical Race Theory in Education Teach-In today with Gloria Ladson-Billings and a bunch of other critical race scholars. It was organized by Adrienne Dixson at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It was broadcast and can be watched via Facebook. Here is the Zoom link to the teach-in as well. If you wait til the very end of the teach-in, you'll hear from me as well. See the statement and signers below."
- Marvin Lynn, PhD, Portland State University
3 August 2020
Emotional literacy is complex and vital part of development; the ability to identify, understand and respond to emotions plays a large role in how a person moves through the world and what opportunities they can avail themselves of. Being able to identify at help at-risk youth is vital for educators. Project A.W.A.R.E and founder Reginald Washington, recently profiled in The San Diego Union-Tribune provide support for these youths and their community. We greatly value the work Mr. Washington and his team do and understand the role emotional literacy plays in equity and opportunities for those most at-risk.
From: Marvin Lynn
Date: Mon, June 1, 2020 at 7:35 AM
Subject: Creating a Just and Equitable World in a Time of Unrest
I know we are consumed with fiscal matters right now. So, this communication may feel like an imposition when there other serious matters at hand. But given what's happening in our world and in our city right now, I penned these ideas as a way to get us to also reflect on how we can work together "to create a more just and equitable world" (borrowed from the College of Education's strategic vision) in a time of unrest. There is a reason to be discouraged for sure. But there is much to do.
I thought I'd share a few resources that have helped me better understand what is happening and consider the role I must play in helping to resolve it. According to a recent story in the New York Times, there are “parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women.” We know that the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. At the same time, violence toward Black and Brown communities has accelerated. Black men and women, in particular, have been targeted by police and killed in their homes, their neighborhoods, and on the streets at alarming levels. We recently witnessed the strange and inexplicable murder of Breonna Taylor who was executed by police officers while home in Louisville. Unfortunately, we watched Ahmaud Arbery be hunted down and killed in a calculated manner by two of his white neighbors in South Georgia. A third neighbor filmed it hoping it would exonerate the cold-blooded killers. And then we witnessed the public, sadistic, and horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a rogue police officer who had a long track record of complaints. All of this has happened during one of the most devastating public health crises our world has seen.
Unfortunately, this is not new. We can recall regular events of this type happening in America for as back as we can remember. These most recent killings, however, have caused America’s already weak and broken “racial faultlines” to completely rupture. As a result, there is widespread unrest across this nation. There has been much said in the media about this ongoing and seemingly neverending unrest throughout our communities. I have heard pleas from many leaders to “stop the violence” and “go home peacefully.” I have also heard others quote Martin Luther King Jr. In one of his iconic speeches, he stated:
Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense, our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Temple education professor, Marc Lamont Hill offered his own perspective on the question of “Why are these people rioting?” He argued that “these are not riots, these are rebellions.” He goes on to state that, “Rebellions are organized acts of resistance against an unjust system.” I would also invite you to read Charles Blow’s eloquently written opinion piece on the “Destructive Power of Despair” published yesterday. He beautifully reframes the narrative to focus on Black people's longstanding resistance to dehumanization and cautions that we must understand the protest as yet another expression of this resistance. I realize we are out of time because the spring quarter is ending. But I’d still like to ask you to consider how our faculty will talk about the social unrest we are experiencing. Will they use the term “riots”, “rebellion”, “protests” or something else? Will they simply try to avoid these discussions altogether and finish up the last week? Is that even possible? What will you do to advance the conversation? I invite you to use these resources and others as conversation starters.
Yesterday afternoon, Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler led an inter-faith conversation at SEI that featured a number of prominent local African American leaders. KATU News streamed it live on Facebook. I was particularly struck by Kali Thornton Ladd’s words (starting at the 18-minute mark) about the plight of Black children in America who may be suffering and grieving “every time we see a life lost like George Floyd.” She expressed the pain of what it means to be Black in America today. She urged educators not to be silent in the face of injustice. Within the context of higher education, AERA President, Shaun Harper, called on education scholars to be mindful of the “psychological toll these killings have on our Black friends, neighbors, and colleagues.” A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article that documented a number of university efforts to publicly condemn the systemic racism that has led to mass protests around the nation also referenced a poignant reflection written by Robert M. Sellers, the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan. In his reflection, he wrote, "This morning, I woke up very tired. Not your normal tired. I woke up with a kind of tired that can only be found on the other side of loss, anger, frustration, sadness, and despair." Many of us have felt this way. Thankfully, I received emails this weekend from two of my colleagues, who expressed concern about violence against Black people and wanted to know if I was okay. I appreciated that. Have you checked on your Black faculty and staff? I can’t promise you that everyone will appreciate it the way I did. But it’s a kind of compassion that is needed right now. How are you supporting Black students this week? Local news outlets have published the names of people (clearly not all Black people) that were arrested in Portland over the weekend due to their involvement in the protests. I wonder how many of them might be our students. I bet if you look closely, you will recognize a few names. How will we show compassion toward them? Steve Percy, Julie Caron, and incoming OGDI Vice President - Ame Lambert signaled their solidarity with those victimized by racism and called on us to work together to "dismantle systemic oppression." And though Sellers from the University of Michigan starts his reflection telling us how tired he is, he too is resolved to work toward the elimination of systematic racism. I am too. I just hope that I can do so in an environment where there isn't so much silence around these issues. I hope this situation will awaken in us the desire to make certain that issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion are priorities in all the work we do as leaders.
Referring back to Thordon-Ladd's speech, the most powerful moment came when she said while holding back tears, “I believe that when a white child can see the humanity of my Black son, it becomes much harder to crush him with their knees.” In light of her heartfelt words, I would ask you to consider how faculty can use their classrooms as spaces to hear from, listen to, and understand the anxiety their students, particularly their Black, Brown, and Indigenous students may be experiencing. How can faculty avoid allowing debates to flourish that blame these students and their communities for the challenges we face? Are there specific ways in which faculty can challenge their white students to have empathetic regard for their fellow students? How can they create spaces for healing within their classrooms that bring diverse students together? Do they have a choice? I don't think so. I invite you to consider these questions. But, like Steve, Julie, and Ame, I also invite you to act.
All the best,
Marvin Lynn, PhD
Dean & Professor
College of Education, Portland State University
President, Oregon Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE)
Board of Directors, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
June 1, 2020 from the desk of the Director
Our efforts to educate teachers and leaders to address issues of social justice and equity is always front and center in our work. There are always serious concerns around access, equity, racism, and hatred that are integral to our responsibilities in preparing educators to work with K-12 children. We cannot be silent. How are we going to talk with our students this summer and next year about the death of George Floyd, the high numbers of COVID-19 illness and deaths among people of color and people living in poverty, the lack of access to a high quality education when you don’t have internet and parents who can help you with your online math class? Our future teachers and leaders must have important conversations often to be equipped to address these and all of the new issues that will, unfortunately, continue to present themselves. I am forwarding a letter from Marvin Lynn, Dean of the College of Education at Portland State University, who very eloquently calls us to action and provides some resources to support and inform the conversations. [See Creating a Just and Equitable World in a Time of Unrest: A Call to Action from Dr. Marvin Lynn.]
We find ourselves in a time where we must be more vigilant than ever in our work to prepare educators who are social justice advocates. I am grateful for the commitment of the School of Education to focus our work on the foundational premise of social justice and equity, so much so that we have made it a foundational TPE.
Pat Stall, Ph.D.
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Director, CSUSM School of Education
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