GSEA/CEE-SJ/LGBTQ Advisory Committee Response to Orlando
We, the members of the CEE Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education programs, the Genders and Sexualities Equality Alliance (GSEA), and the LGBTQ Issues in Academic Studies Advisory Committee stand in solidarity with the broader LGBTQIA and Latinx communities and all those affected by the recent tragedy in Orlando.
Our parent organization, NCTE, has issued a statement affirming the need to stand with those who are grieving as well as resources to ground this supportive work. And, in order to contribute to the critical resources that NCTE has already shared, our GSEA offers the additional resources included in this link: Resource Repository NCTE GSEA. This is meant to be an evolving list, and we invite NCTE members to share additional resources.
As advocates, researchers, teacher educators, and teachers dedicated to equity in and through education, we take this moment to reaffirm our dedication to a safe and just world for all. We reaffirm our commitment to social justice in all spaces, especially in and through K-12 classrooms and teacher education.
We believe that classrooms and other learning spaces are ideal sites to make sense of our social worlds and to promote democratic participation and understanding while resisting violence and hatred. In the face of such violent hate crimes, we stand united in strength and resolve. To honor the lives lost in Orlando, we aim to move our mission forward collectively, working to reconstruct systems that build more equitable social arrangements for all people.
We pay tribute here to those critically injured, those mourning the loss of loved ones, and those whose lives were lost in Orlando:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
“Social justice” is a term often used in our field, though what it refers to is, at times, amorphous. We in the Social Justice Commission, Genders and Sexualities Equality Alliance, and LGBTQ Issues in Academic Studies Advisory Committee agree with Moje (2007) that there is a distinction between socially-just pedagogies and social justice pedagogies. If a practice is socially-just, then all youth/people have equitable opportunities to learn. Socially-just practices, however, say little about the systems of power and oppression that privilege some at the expense of others. It is not enough to work for a more diverse representation of people privileged in current systems of power.
We must work for social justice–the questioning and eventual reconstructing of these systems. Though there is much we do not know about the tragedy in Orlando, it is clear that healing, understanding, acceptance, and dialogue are needed to create a society and world where all people are safe and valued.
Additionally, on the back of this tragedy in Orlando, which took place only one month ago, we again find ourselves mourning the loss of more innocent lives. The recent events in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas are painful reminders of the need for our commitment to dialogue, healing, and understanding, as well as substantial social change for justice, which is at the core of the work we all do. Our society broadly recognizes the tragedy that is the murder of Dallas officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarippa, Michael Kroll, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens, and we have much work to do in terms of valuing the lives of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
In this statement, we reaffirm our promise to work for changes in our society that emphasize the value of all human lives. We commit to being a part of community efforts that work for peace and changes that ensure the safety, respect, and inclusiveness of all LGBTQIA individuals, people of color, queer people of color, allies, law enforcement officials who stand on the right side of justice, and the many other intersectionalities and transectionalities that exist within our communities. We reaffirm our commitment to challenging educational practices that normalize violence, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other systems of privilege and oppression.
It is worthwhile to remember that this year our Annual Convention theme is advocacy. The meeting offers a number of resources and support systems, and on the program you will find many LGBT strand and social justice themed sessions that offer suggestions for advocacy inside and outside of our classrooms. We urge you to participate in these sessions and to attend our business meetings to obtain critical resources and continue these discussions.
As we look towards the future of our social justice work situated within NCTE and teacher education, we are drafting new resolutions. Currently, there is a resolution on strengthening teacher knowledge on LGBTQIA Issues, but we believe we can do more. We welcome feedback from members of the NCTE community as we draft, and we invite collaborators. We are here to support your work for social justice, and in our work together, we know we will emerge stronger, more resilient, and more visible in our goals of teaching for a safe and just world.
If you wish to contact us for support or additional information, please contact the following:
NCTE GSEA chair, Nicole Sieben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CEE-SJ co-chair, Noah Golden, (email@example.com)
LGBTQ Advisory Committee chair, Toby Emert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Moje, E. B. (2007). Developing socially just subject-matter instruction: A review of the literature on disciplinary literacy teaching. Review of Research in Education, 31(1), 1-44.
 We stand in solidarity as a collective, from a wide range of individual identities that include being members of and allies with these broader communities.