Statement on Anti-Black Racism

June 8, 2020

Dear students, faculty, alumni and friends,

Alongside you, we are witnessing, marching and grieving in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more. We unequivocally support the demonstrations to end police violence and to address the legacy of anti-black racism in the United States. We stand in solidaritydemanding that Black lives matter. 

The Yale Education Studies program is a space where we examine how schools reflect and reproduce racism, and we as students and faculty work to change this through our research, policy and practice. We take this moment to recommit ourselves to this work, and we invite you to do so with us by taking on the role of co-conspirator. As activist Alicia Garza has explained, “co-conspiracy” is about what we do in action, not just in language. Co-conspiracy is about leveraging power and privilege toward disrupting the white supremacist status quo – the very arrangements of power from which many of us have benefited. 

For the Education Studies Program to become a co-conspirator in addressing anti-Black racism means transforming how we think about, study, and approach education, reflecting honestly on where we fall short, and continuing again with the work. Becoming a co-conspirator means we will not just dream of or study freedom, but will teach, build, and demand it too. 

In particular:

  • We support Yale faculty and students working in collaboration with Connecticut teachers and students in developing a Black and Latinx history curriculum.
  • We support developing additional courses in race and education for the Education Studies program in partnership with Yale colleagues and educators, activists and organizations beyond the academy. 
  • We support students and faculty developing research and educational programming on anti-racism. To that end, our Education Studies Scholars and faculty are all invited to participate in a common reading over the summer of Professor Bettina Love’s book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom. 

To our students and faculty who this hits disproportionately, we love you and we support you. To everyone, we invite your partnership in this work.

Yours sincerely,

Mira Debs, Executive Director of Education Studies and Lecturer in Sociology

Grace Kao, Faculty Director of Education Studies, Chair of Sociology and the IBM Professor of Sociology

Talya Zemach-Bersin, Lecturer in Education Studies