Special Message from AERA President and Executive Director on Overcoming Hate and Hostility
 
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November 16, 2016
 
Dear AERA Members,
 
Since the election, and during the months leading up to it, a series of disturbing events have divided, or from the perspective of some, further divided the nation. Like many in the education research community, we have been appalled at the lack of humanity, the intimidation, and the intolerance for diversity represented by these events. We have been especially concerned with what our children and what our students have learned during this time and the ways that anger and hate have overridden our sensibilities around respect for others and social justice. The hostility since the election has been even more appalling, as violent threats, hate speech, and verbal attacks have nurtured fear. 
 
While the intensity of the hostility has increased, the rise of these problems has been evident, growing in number and severity over the past few years, from Charleston to Orlando. In response to these incidents, AERA has taken a public stand. We continue to take a stand against the violence, violent threats, and any act that is intended to restrict opportunity in whatever form, threaten the well-being of our students, or victimize those who contribute to our society, including girls and women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and adults; Muslims; immigrant families; and undocumented children and adults, to name a few.
 
AERA will continue planning and implementing efforts to address the issues, not simply the ones that emerged during and resulting from the election but also the ongoing vulnerabilities and hardships that affect countless children, youth, and adults. We all share in AERA’s mission to use research to promote change and embrace our professional and human commitment to promote respect and safety for all children and families, many of whom have been marginalized and are among those whom we teach and study.
 
Between now and the annual meeting in April, AERA will be holding six lectures on critical research issues, many of which are underscored in recent events. In addition, we will hold one or two webinars prior to the annual meeting as well as an event during the annual meeting focused specifically on topics related to racial conciliation and the role of schooling and education, gender equity, or other relevant themes.
 
We urge the education research community to keep heart, to take on the challenges ahead, and to be mindful of our larger purpose as scholars—and in so doing to demonstrate our commitment to intellectual engagement, to civic responsibility, to democratic principles, and ultimately to social justice.
 
Our very best to all of you,
 
Vivian L. Gadsden                                             Felice J. Levine
President                                                          Executive Director

 
 
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