ACPA—College Student Educators International invites you to gather with us in a conversation and creating voice about confronting the reality of racism in our communities and on our campuses.
We need to talk about how we feel in the aftermath of the murder/killing of Michael Brown and what we believe is possible to do that actually matters. How do we get things right? How deep does our agency go as student affairs professionals? What are the lines between social justice education, advocacy and activism? Who draws these lines?
The catalyst for scheduling these conversations is tragic. His name is Michael. Our hope is to create space for students and colleagues to discover what is the Ferguson that is happening on our campuses?
How do we need to organize and plan for systemic and sustainable change once we acknowledge the depth of racism on campuses? How does racism negatively undermine student success and particularly for students of color? What are the policies, practices and services that we need to revise and shift to create greater inclusion on campus and to minimize the impact of racism on students, staff and faculty and particularly those of color?
If we don’t do this work together, we risk numbing ourselves to the next story of the next Michael. We need to remember his story.
Michael, an unarmed black teenager preparing to enter college in a few days was murdered/shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2014 by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. The shooting catalyzed protests that have continued and will continue on the streets of Ferguson and in the hearts and minds of every human being who admits what is deeply broken in our nation. The grand jury of Ferguson community “no billed” the incident November 24, 2014 and refused to take it forward for prosecution.
Many people around the world have expressed that they do not agree with the grand jury decision, that they do not trust the process, that they do not trust the police and that they feel that the lives of people of color have been devalued in a way from which we may not recover as a nation.
Every 28 hours an unarmed black person is killed in this country. This is not new. This is an old and ugly and deep wound within our institutions and communities and families and neighborhoods. “Anti-blackness” and the sanctioning of violence against black people are in our collective DNA as a nation.
I’ve spoken to many ACPA members today who feel deeply sad, discouraged and frustrated because we are human beings in addition to our professional roles. Today, many of us feel powerless to dismantle systems that deny justice and that will continue to deny justice to hundreds of thousands of people of color. And, we are not powerless.
Our jobs call us into healing space and into courage at contested places and during tragedy. Sometimes that means that we “shelve” our own grief and anger so we can be of service and support to our students and colleagues. We invite you to join us in sharing rather than shelving, finding a way where there seems to be none. In the final analysis, each one of us has the capacity to respect human dignity and to reject anything that diminishes one another. We hope that the community conversation can enlist each one of us in rejecting anything less than dignity. We hope all of our peer associations and member campuses will join us in rejecting anything less than dignity. What would this look like? What can we do that matters to get things right?
Please join us during one of these conversations over the next two weeks.
December 2, 2014: 12:00 pm EST
Meeting Number: 191 139 317
December 7, 2014: 4:00 pm EST (Sunday)
Or join by phone: 415-655-0001
Meeting Number: 194 088 017
December 9, 2014: 4:30 pm EST
Meeting Number: 197 530 880
Send your topics and questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.