AACTE President and CEO Speaks on the Killing of George Floyd and Systemic Racism
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today responding to the killing of George Floyd and systemic racism:
“AACTE acknowledges an insidious threat to the foundation of American democracy—institutional and structural racism. The construct of racism in our country is rooted in the historical, systemic abuse of power, based upon white supremist ideologies, and resulting in white privilege. Racism has long been entrenched in American institutions and policies that reinforce an unjust and disparate allocation of rights and resources to white people, while disallowing them to Black and other people of color—including our institutions of learning.
AACTE is outraged over the recent videos of Amy Cooper weaponizing the police against Chris Cooper in New York City’s Central Park, George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, and the hunting and killing of Ahmaud Aubery by men with ties to their local Georgia police department, as well as the murder of Breonna Taylor by police while sleeping in her home. The latter events represent only a few of the string of killings of Black citizens at the hands of white perpetrators and law enforcement. In each case, the victims were unarmed. In each case, the Black community was forced to mobilize, call out the racist crime, and demand justice that has yet to be realized.
As a community preparing the nation’s educators to enter classrooms and schools ready to teach and support learners of all races, AACTE is compelled to confront these injustices and inequities. We are positioned to affect change by advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion; engaging in tough conversations about race; and countering the abhorrent impact racism and white privilege continue to have upon our society. Collectively, we must disrupt these inequities by increasing and maintaining a diverse workforce, preventing the school-to prison pipeline, and encouraging white colleagues to align with their peers of color as allies and accomplices in speaking and acting against systemic and institutional racism. The responsibility to create change is on the shoulders of white allies. It has been on the backs of the Black community for far too long.
During this time when racial inequities are exacerbated by the pandemic, and our black and brown families, friends, and colleagues are enduring incalculable pain, AACTE refuses to stay silent. We call upon our member institutions to respond with their own statements and action, share resources examining these inherent and entrenched biases, and engage in broad-based, anti-racism work with their faculty and student bodies. Several of our members, including Rowan University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and William & Mary have responded to the recent events. HBCU presidents have also responded with thoughtful reflections and calls to action.
We stand with them, our academic and teacher leaders, and our strategic partners in acknowledging our shared history, and pledge to address behaviors and systems that devalue any human being based on the color of their skin.”
AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 800 member institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at www.aacte.org.