AACTE Statement on Racial Violence in Charlottesville, VA
Lynn M. Gangone, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), today issued the following statement regarding the racial violence that occurred two days ago in downtown Charlottesville:
“AACTE strongly condemns the acts of hate, bigotry and racial violence that took place during the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday. This tumult has devastated the local community of our member institution University of Virginia (UVA) and has deeply impacted our nation and the world. We support UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s official statement that the acts “…of the many groups that have converged on Charlottesville this weekend contradict [American] values of diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect.” AACTE also considers an outbreak of insular behavior in the setting of a university paradoxical as institutions of higher education characterize enlightenment, progression, and democracy.
One of the primary roles of educators is to prepare students to become participating citizens in a democratic society. AACTE members produce educators who can effectively help students address the complex ways in which our nation is grappling with its most fundamental principles. Our members are committed to advancing diversity, equity and educational opportunity as pillars of the democratic tenets of the teaching profession.
AACTE supports members’ efforts to grow a diverse teaching workforce reflective of the increasingly diverse student population through a variety of initiatives such as the AACTE Holmes Program and the Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teacher Initiative Networked Improvement Community (NIC). The AACTE Holmes Program exists to support students from historically underrepresented communities pursuing careers in education. The AACTE Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative NIC helps institutions identify innovative strategies to increase the percentage of Black and Hispanic/Latino men receiving initial teaching certification through educator preparation programs. These are just two of the many ways in which AACTE actualizes its commitment to advocate for and celebrate diversity and inclusion. There is more to be done to advance civil discourse. Education is at the front lines to shape this narrative, and, along with our members, AACTE will address this challenge.”