AERA Speaks Out Against Racial Injustice
AERA Speaks Out Against Racial Injustice

June  2020

AERA leadership has taken a strong stance against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd and subsequent global protests against systemic racism and police violence against Black people. In three statements since May 31, AERA has expressed its firm commitment to taking concrete steps to fight racism in academia and throughout society, through its programming, convenings, and other organizational channels.

In a May 31 statement in response to the killing of Floyd, AERA President Shaun Harper said, “Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ simply is not enough. As a community of researchers, we must unite to take bold, evidence-based action that exposes and ultimately ends the catastrophic police killings of unarmed Black people.”

He called for the use of evidence in the orientation, professional learning, leadership development, and accountability of law enforcement officers, and urged education researchers to use data to inform the creation and implementation of policies that protect Black communities from racial profiling and the use of excessive force in police interactions.

Harper ended his statement by urging AERA members to send their suggestions for ways that members across divisions, SIGs, and committees can unite for a collective impact on this issue. Please send your suggestions to Harper ( and to AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine ( 

On June 10, Levine released a statement supporting #ShutDownSTEM/#ShutDownAcademia, a movement to pause “doing business as usual” to support the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts against racism in the scientific community. Although AERA was not able to shut down operations that day, it is undertaking new programming to add education research to the larger public conversation on this issue. 

“We are at a critical turning point in society, where science can serve the public good, and we at AERA intend to take affirmative steps to make that happen,” said Levine. “President Harper and I also want to thoughtfully gather suggestions for ways AERA members across the field can work together to make a collective impact.”

In a June 19 statement on the celebration of Juneteenth, Levine reaffirmed AERA’s deep commitment to taking affirmative steps to eradicate systemic anti-Black racism and to address the racial trauma that has afflicted so many for far too long. 

“AERA, the field of education research, and the entire scientific community stand together in celebrating Juneteenth, the true second independence day of the United States,” said Levine. 

She added: 

“We encourage all those engaged in education research, practice, and policy, and others who intersect with education in any way, to reflect on the meaning and significance of this day. We urge them to find ways in their daily lives to join in conversations and actions that break down personal racial barriers and biases. And we urge them to unite and make their voices heard by our national, state, and local leaders until institutionalized policies, procedures, and actions that discriminate against and harm Black Americans are dismantled.”

Previous AERA statements on racism and hatred: