In light of recent national and world events, the doctoral students of the inaugural cohort of the EdD-Educational Leadership program at the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT), must state our support for student activism, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and those who wish an end to hateful rhetoric and the violence happening against our communities of color and within our institutions of education.
The doctoral program in educational leadership began in the summer of 2013 as part of UWT’s mission to serve the South Sound community and build leaders in the areas of K-12, higher education and health care in the Puget Sound region. Looking back on our three years of study and community service through internship, we recognize the influences of critical theorists and educational reformers, and many others who speak out on behalf of those who have been systematically silenced.
As students who have increased in knowledge and understanding of institutional and structural racism, we understand our responsibility to call out injustice and work toward solutions which create opportunities for equity throughout our society.
As members of this community, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the country on other college and university campuses who have voiced our shared concerns and fears regarding racist attitudes and racial attacks. Such acts of violence must not be ignored. We recognize that when violence is perpetrated against a member of our community, just like the pebble thrown into a pond, that violence affects us all.
Likewise, we have an opportunity to amplify our efforts to push back against religious bigotry and disparaging remarks when we act in unity against such violence. It is our responsibility as leaders in the community to continue to expose, uncover and reject all acts of violence against our bodies and our communities.
Violence results in the erosion of our communities and the undermining of the people who live within them. We must actively work toward creating and cultivating spaces and places for healing, accountability, resiliency and safety for all. We must seek to work toward transforming the conditions which have continued to allow these acts to happen.
We commit to investing our time, talents and efforts toward promoting greater diversity on our campuses and in our workplaces; to creating safe spaces for students, faculty and staff of color; and to intentionally listen to the concerns of all underrepresented populations. With this commitment, we can become agents of liberation.
We recognize that the moment to attend to these issues, to listen and to act is now.
Kirsten Wilbur, Theresa R. Ramos, Bronwyn G. Pughe, Lucretia A. Berg and Mona M. Johnson are the first cohort of UWT doctoral students in Educational Leadership.