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SIG Statement on Black Lives Matter
June 6, 2020
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Your silence will not protect you.
– Audre Lorde

Dear Members of the BER SIG,

We write to you, the members of our SIG, to clearly and unequivocally share our solidarity with the Black community as it grapples with yet another series of experiences with police brutality in the United States. We also recognize the pain and anguish with which Black people, including Black immigrants, Afro-Asians and Afro-Latinxs, and allies take to the streets demanding an end to violence at the hands of the state, whose practices reflect the White supremacist ideologies and systems that undergird this nation.

As a collective of people from minoritized communities, we must take this opportunity to center Black lives in recognition that our experiences stem from systems rooted in anti-blackness, which aim to uphold ideals of inherent difference and individual deficit through the promotion of the model minority myth. As such, we must be unambiguous and fervent in our commitment to Black Lives Matter and the pursuit of racial justice. The systems that continue to deny our Black brothers and sisters their humanity is the same one that denies the humanity of other marginalized people including but not limited to undocumented, dis/abled and transgender people. It is for this reason that we must also recognize that as minoritized people our own oppression is also rooted in antiblackness, regardless of whether we/you identify as Black or not. In other words, the racialization of BIPOC are produced within a foundation of anti-Blackness; we can trace these deficit perspectives to the Moynihan report (itself a product of a long history of anti-Blackness). As such, the only way to get to the root of the challenges confronting any community of color is to dismantle anti-Black (and settler colonial logics).

Still, it is not enough to say that we stand in solidarity with the Black community. We must also commit to vehemently exposing and rejecting antiblackness within education, and particularly within bilingual education. As Flores so clearly states, “In a society that was founded on anti-Blackness and continues to perpetuate anti-Blackness through its institutions, bilingual education is by default anti-Black regardless of how inclusive it prides itself on being. [...] The only way to ensure that bilingual education is a tool for social change is to ensure that it is situated within a broader project that seeks to dismantle anti-Blackness. Anything less than this is tantamount to treating Black lives as if they don’t matter.”

In recognition that we did not start this work, we have included the BLM “what we believe” statement. We do this to acknowledge the labor that the Black community has taken on - from the very moment they were first brought to this country in 1619 - to bring freedom to us all. We recognize that we cannot all take up this struggle in the same way, so we ask that you join us in this commitment however you can. We have provided some suggestions for action here (with hyperlinks to additional resources):

GENERAL SUPPORTS/EFFORTS
A. have conversations with your colleagues, students, family and friends about the need to center Black lives
B. donate to one of the following organizations: Black Lives MatterColor Of ChangeThe Antiracist Research & Policy CenterThe Equal Justice InitiativeThe American Civil Liberties UnionThe Black Immigrant Collective
C. support those who are protesting by contributing to bail funds
D. support Black bookstores and businesses
E. demand that your local school district remove the police from their school buildings
F. seek out antiracism training for yourself or your loved ones
G. participate in the activities listed in Movement for Black Lives’s Week of Action
H. decolonize your syllabus, support Black research and scholarship, follow Black Scholars on Twitter, cite Black women and BIPOC, and 
I. pay Black scholars, teachers, and community organizers for their emotional and intellectual labor. They may include their Venmo or Cash App on Twitter.

BILINGUAL EDUCATION SPECIFIC EFFORTS
A. incorporating Black people into bilingual ed curricula
B. acknowledging and centering the experiences of Afro-Latinxs
C. welcoming and affirming Black language practices in the classroom

Only you know which path and which actions best suit you and your positionality, but we earnestly implore that you join us in acknowledging that “what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood” (Audre Lorde).

In Solidarity,
María Cioè-Peña (Parliamentarian)
Maria Coady (Chair)
Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz (Program Chair/Chair-elect)
Verónica Eileen Valdez (Past-chair/Nominations Comm. Chair)
David Martinez (Secretary/Treasurer)
Alexandra (Ale) Babino (Previous Secretary/Treasurer)
Mary Esther Huerta (Previous Parliamentarian)
Patricia Martínez-Álvarez (Previous Past Chair/Nominations Comm. Chair)

 

Black Lives Matter, “What We Believe”: Retrieved from https://blacklivesmatter.com/ 

Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti- Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state. 

Enraged by the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, and inspired by the 31-day takeover of the Florida State Capitol by POWER U and the Dream Defenders, we took to the streets. A year later, we set out together on the Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson, in search of justice for Mike Brown and all of those who have been torn apart by state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Forever changed, we returned home and began building the infrastructure for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which, even in its infancy, has become a political home for many. 

Ferguson helped to catalyze a movement to which we’ve all helped give life. Organizers who call this network home have ousted anti-Black politicians, won critical legislation to benefit Black lives, and changed the terms of the debate on Blackness around the world. Through movement and relationship building, we have also helped catalyze other movements and shifted culture with an eye toward the dangerous impacts of anti-Blackness. 

These are the results of our collective efforts. 

The Black Lives Matter Global Network is as powerful as it is because of our membership, our partners, our supporters, our staff, and you. Our continued commitment to liberation for all Black people means we are continuing the work of our ancestors and fighting for our collective freedom because it is our duty. 

Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported. 

  • We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities. 
  • We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. 
  • We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting. 
  • We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others. 
  • We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world. 
  • We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location. 
  • We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead. 
  • We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence. 
  • We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered. 
  • We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts. 
  • We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work. 
  • We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable. 
  • We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise). 
  • We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn. 
  • We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.         

Say their names:

 
 
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