AACTE Celebrates Juneteenth
AACTE will close its offices tomorrow in recognition of Juneteenth, which honors the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to enforce the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Until that day, June 19, 1865, Black men, women, and children in Texas remained enslaved, despite the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth, as named by the newly freed citizens, is celebrated annually on June 19. Congress voted this week to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
AACTE staff pauses its work to reflect on the violence, including murder, that our Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian-American Pacific-Islander, and Transgendered populations are particularly experiencing, in addition to the long history of violence against these groups of people. AACTE condemns, in the strongest terms, this violence and invites all its colleagues to work together to create a society in which no one should fear for their lives based on the color of their skin or gender identity.
AACTE believes that all also must work together to eliminate institutional racism, which plagues our nation and our educational system. As the Association that represents educator preparation programs that prepare the next generation of teachers, AACTE is leading the way. Through conferences, webinars, public statements, and other tools, AACTE works to affect change by advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, engaging in critical conversations about race, and countering the abhorrent impact racism and discrimination continue to have upon our society.
This conversation and work are ongoing in educator preparation programs across the nation. AACTE welcomes the opportunity to work with its colleagues and partners to challenge and breakdown systemic racism at all levels of education and empower educators to teach U.S. history in an honest and truthful manner that does not overlook our nation’s blemishes. Education is a path to enlightenment and civil discourse only if we allow all perspectives to be heard. Educating our students to the whole of who we are as a country can provide context for the challenges we face and allow us to begin to understand and heal.
In 2020, AACTE celebrated Juneteenth by sharing several resources for those interested in learning more about its origin, Black history, and culture. In addition, AACTE member institution, Syracuse University, has also shared a timeline of reflective activities over the nineteen days leading up to Juneteenth. You are invited to utilize these resources, attend the AACTE webinar series on Combating Racism in Educator Preparation, access our media and videos as supplements to your classroom conversations, and more. Preparing teachers fully for educating all learners is our mission and your engagement in this work is very appreciated.