Critical Educators for Social Justice: SIG 144

SIG Purpose

The Critical Educators for Social Justice SIG (CESJ) was born out of an unequal environment in the early 2000s when a group of critical educators from California (Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Marta Bartolomeo, Sally Thomas, and Susan Socho, mentored by Antonia Darder) were working with teachers, community activists, and university faculty to stop the banning of bilingual education by legislators and were concerned with the lack of space for critical scholarship and research from Black, brown, Indigenous, LGBTQIAA+, disabled, and many other marginalized communities in and outside of AERA. Within the first five years of building the CESJ SIG other important scholars such as Julie Andrzejeweski, Zeus Leonardo, Nola Butler Byrd, and Todd Jennings joined in to help design the leadership team and how we would function as a SIG, with a special focus on mentoring and guidance from a Council of Elders to the younger generations. CESJ’s creation was critical during these moments of contention and is still as educators face a new onslaught of book bannings, the dismantling of affirmative action in higher education, lack of teacher autonomy, and other hostile environments that make the academic space inaccessible. 

The purpose of CESJ is to create and nourish a community of critical educators to do the necessary work of pushing back against the status quo, centering critical research and scholarship, and investing in and mentoring graduate and early career scholars. As a community and a SIG, we believe in promoting activism and advocacy for a more inclusive education space and uplifting educators so we may continue to do the necessary work for individual and systemic change.