We, as individuals and collectively as Oregon Council of Teachers of English, have been sickened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more Black Americans. We have witnessed COVID-19 disproportionately result in sickness and death within communities of color. These recent events are just the latest in a long standing cycle of racial injustice in our country. We unequivocally condemn state-sanctioned violence, white supremacy, and the racist economic systems in our country that have continued to marginalize people of color. We believe that we have a responsibility to promote equity for all and to help our students feel safe, supported, and equipped with what it takes to stand up to racism and inequity.
As an affiliate of NCTE, we support their Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning ...and the vision that“NCTE and its members will apply the power of language and literacy to actively pursue justice and equity for all students and the educators who serve them.” We as an organization centered on the written and spoken word, believe in the power of language to envision a path forward with equity, compassion, and justice for all. Yet we know words are not enough. We must be active, both collectively and individually, in “counteracting racism and other forms of bigotry in teaching materials, methods, and programs for the teaching and learning of English and the language arts.” We believe learning, self-reflection, and direct action are critical to confronting legacies of inequity. We will work for justice by seeking opportunities in our materials, programs, online content, and events to celebrate cultural differences and lift historically suppressed voices.
We acknowledge that we have work to do in bringing the demographics of our organization closer to the students we serve.While we internally strive toward that goal, we are committed to supporting you in the work that you do as educators in breaking down the barriers that racism creates for our students. We will maintain this commitment to you and to our students.
For a list of resources on anti-racism curricula and activities, visit our "Teaching About Racial Justice" page.