The unjust, inhumane killing of yet another Black man affects me personally. With every additional life that is stolen as a result of systemic oppression and racism, I feel the gravity of the sorrow, pain, and grief passed down to me through generations of struggle for Black life in the United States.
It is a gravity and sorrow shared and experienced by all members of minoritized groups in the United States who are disproportionately targeted by acts of violence. Within the last month, members of the Asian American Pacific Islander and Desi American community were targeted in two separate shootings in California.
As we continue to process these most recent acts of violence, we must also recommit ourselves to developing the next generations of educators and kinesiology professionals who are equipped with the tools to advance racial equity and justice. In my time within the College of Education, I have been uplifted by the shared commitment and existing efforts toward this goal, such as the DEI Educator Network, the Equity Fellows program, the work of Interim Associate Dean Terry Flennaugh and his team, the publications and projects of numerous college faculty members, and countless other examples.
As we continue this work, I also ask us to continue to care for each other. Though we are all deeply affected by ongoing acts of injustice and inhumanity, our colleagues from minoritized groups may be especially affected because, like me and Tyre, they see themselves and their shared history reflected in these events.
Last week, we were all shocked and saddened to learn of the disturbing incidents regarding Okemos Public Schools and other schools throughout Michigan. We all endeavor in our various roles as educators, students, family, and community members to make schools places of learning and growth, not tragedy or fear. But, we do live in a time where it is difficult to shield young minds from tragedy shown to them locally, nationally, and globally.
I want to ensure all members of our college community who may be experiencing trauma, fear, or grief related to the incidents feel supported and know there are resources available. If needed, please seek support from our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; our Office of Student Affairs; and Human Resources. My door is also open to you. Please reach out to me or others that you trust for support and understanding. We are One College, One Mission.
In my message to the College of Education community last week (Feb. 7), I issued a call to action to share resources—and we responded. Starting this week, Interim Associate Dean Terry Flennaugh and his office will host a specialized series to support educators, health professionals, and families with addressing youth trauma. The series will be offered both in-person and online to support wider participation; it is open to the public.
Youth Dealing with Trauma: A Panel Discussion on What Educators and Parents/Guardians Can Do
Panelists – Curtis Lewis (Department of Teacher Education); Greta McHaney (Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan), Brandon Lane (Black Male Educators Alliance)
Moderator – Terry Flennaugh
Closing Remarks – Dean Jerlando F. L. Jackson
Examining Policing in Society & Schools: Making a Case for Abolition
Mei-Ling Malone, California State University – Fullerton
Racial Equity in Policing: The Obstacles, Opportunities, and Implications for Translating Theory into Practice
Brian N. Williams, University of Virginia
Rest for the Woke: Teaching Grief, Peace and Possibility after Viral Incidents of Violence
Ashley Woodson, Albion College
There are also campus resources available to you:
- Thriving Campus
- MSU’s?Counseling and Psychiatric Services?(CAPS) and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
In addition, The Steve Fund, the nation’s leading organization focusing on supporting the mental, social, and emotional well-being of young people of color. Text Steve to 741741 for culturally responsive crisis counseling.
Together, we can prepare the next generation of educators and health care professionals and support current professionals who will make a positive difference in dismantling systems of oppression, eliminating injustice, and supporting youth through traumatic experiences.