Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter while she was pursuing her MA degree in Ethnic Studies at SFSU.
SFSU’s Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) is in solidarity with those harmed by state violence, particularly Black men, women, and gender-non-binary people. George Floyd, Tony McDade, Yassin Mohamed, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and so many others have been murdered by the police, by vigilantes, and those emboldened by them. Let us learn from their lives as well as from their murders.
Education is liberation. Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter while she was pursuing her MA degree in Ethnic Studies at SFSU (chair, Dr. Dawn-Elissa Fischer).
We are also in unity with those who fight against this continued state-sanctioned violence against and murder of Black people. We are in unity with those who protest, those who shelter, those who raise their voices and their hearts to educate us all in the art of liberation.
Unity is not just a feeling; like love, unity is a commitment to daily action. CEETL commits to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as the excellence in teaching and learning.
CEETL is grounded in anti-racist pedagogy framed in equity and inclusion for excellence because education is liberation. This does not mean that the purpose of education is liberation––it means that freedom only comes from knowledge and wisdom.
Our community of education is a community dedicated to liberation, while also being, as is every institution, a tool of subjugation. We struggle with this dichotomy daily, within ourselves and within every corner of our university. In both the ways that we educate, as well as in what we teach, we seek to be responsible to this core idea: education is liberation; liberation is education.
Many of our students come here because social justice is at our core and because we have a diversity of people and thoughts that is instructive and valuable in and of itself. And though we offer a diverse community, we also recognize that inequities remain, including the ratio of the diversity of faculty to the diversity of students:
- Asian & Pacific Islander 1 to 25.05;
- Black 1 to 28.28;
- Latino/a/x 1 to 90.86;
- Native American 1 to 3.62;
- Other & Unknown 1 to 33.38;
- Two or More 1 to 183.68;
- White 1 to 7.17
Put another way, our students are 18.1% white while our faculty are 56.6% white (CFA Equity Report 2020). Because of this hiring, retention, and promotion reality, white allyship is a critical part of SFSU’s Pedagogies of Inclusive Excellence.
While there remain inequities in graduation rates for Black students (4 year graduation rates for the 2015 cohort are 14.1% for Black students and 31.3% for white students), we must push to develop our individual and collective strategies, tools, and supports towards a social justice liberation education (CSU Dashboard: Graduation and Continuation Rates). Each unit of this university must ask itself, “What can we do today to support the education and graduation of Black students?”
As we––faculty-students-staff––bear witness to ongoing police brutality and the bravery of people willing to put themselves in harm's way to fight against it, let us live and educate by the SF State motto, “experientia docet.” Let these experiences teach us how to liberate ourselves and others.
Trauma-informed teaching leads to education focused on healing and growing.
Resilient teaching anticipates diversity of preparation, resources, needs, and relationships to institutions, educational and otherwise.
Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in education is rooted in anti-racist, anti-oppressive assessment ecologies (Inoue, 2017).
We cannot learn if we do not know, first, that we have the right to learn. We share the perspective expressed by Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp:
You have the right to be free.
You have the right to be healthy.
You have the right to be brilliant.
You have the right to be safe.
You have the right to be loved.
You have the right to be courageous.
You have the right to be alive.
You have the right to be trusted.
You have the right to be educated.
You have the right to know your rights.
SF State students, staff, and faculty: be free, healthy, brilliant, safe, loved, courageous, alive, trusted, and educated in our teaching and learning community.
Know, teach, and learn your rights for education and liberation.
The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning