Sow Seeds of Justice
This article originally appeared on the Graduate School of Education at Touro College website and is reprinted with permission.
To the Touro GSE community, our candidates, and in particular, the youth and children we serve by way of our educator preparation programs, I write to you in solidarity with the many educators across the United States who collectively speak out against the horrific brutality and the death of George Floyd and many others. The world is watching. These are indeed troubling times coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our president of Touro College and University System, Dr. Alan Kadish has led the charge for those of us within the Touro academy to “Be part of the solution.” To our Black and brown youth, our first desire is your safety and to let you know you are valued. This too we hold dear for all communities of color. Yet, desires without actions are delusions. We must also move beyond rhetoric and engage the tools of professional educators. This we must and will continue to do as researchers, practitioners, and advocates focusing on educational equity.
The Graduate School of Education firmly acknowledges the ills of structural racism, “an insidious threat to the foundation of American democracy” (AACTE). We also understand that as educators at all levels, we provide the foundation for all other professions. Ineffective educators can cause educational and social harm affecting generations. Equally, effective educators who are socially conscious of the needs of diverse communities can sow seeds of justice producing strong roots. As GSE doubles down on our efforts to ensure that all of our candidates meet the goals we have established for our equity and access outcomes, we are certain that our graduates will bring to bear a praxis of compassion.
As scholar-practitioners, our faculty must engage evidence-based action (AERA) and research to further equity and social justice. To this end, our Lander Center of Educational Research and the committee for faculty scholarship will expand their existing support for 2020-2021 programming to advance faculty research for dismantling educational inequities.
Our recently inducted inaugural cohort of Touro Holmes Masters (THMs) reflects our commitment to diversifying the educator pipeline. Throughout their programs of study, THMs will be mentored for the sustainability of their high academic performance and their commitment to inclusivity, diversity, equity, advocacy, and leadership (IDEAL).
Our actions today will directly inform who we are as educators, communities, and a society, now and in the future. In closing, I am reflecting of the world Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, one of our greatest drum majors for peace, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Therefore, we are collectively responsible for the state of our communities, societies, and by extension, the world at large.
Be a part of the solution!