Once again, systemic racism has taken the life of a fellow American and shaken us to the core. The brutal killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 exemplifies the unjust reality that many communities face every day in our country, communities that are suffocated by the heavy weight of ignorance, bias, prejudice, and hate. We cannot remain silent and be complicit. We cannot look the other way and pretend that this act of intolerance has nothing to do with us. If we do not denounce this racially motivated tragedy today, we are destined to having to condemn other acts that attempt against our democracy and our civil rights tomorrow.
As we all reflect on and react to this tragic event, I invite you to think about one of the themes of the CCNY School of Education Conceptual Framework: Educating for and about diversity. To educate for diversity is to respect what makes us different and unique, and to value multiculturalism as a sine qua non for a society in which we work together for the common good. To educate about diversity is to understand that diversity encompasses race, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, identities, learning styles, and much more; to root this understanding in the belief that every human being has an innate right to exist and prosper according to his or her free will; and to uncover all the layers of our past, speak truth about our present, and forge a better life for future generations.
A statement is just a statement if it does not lead to introspection, change, and action. Let’s not waste this opportunity to learn from and about each other, reaffirm the role that the School of Education plays in the fight for social justice, and effect change. Our society, future teachers and school leaders, and the children and youth whose lives they will touch count on it.
Edwin M. Lamboy, Interim Dean