CLTA Statement of Social Justice from The Board of Directors of the California Language Teachers’ Association
In California, and throughout our nation, we are facing one of the greatest challenges in U.S. history. A global pandemic has interrupted one school year and cast uncertainty over the next, and the ensuing economic crisis has left millions of Americans unemployed. As devastating as the current public health and financial crises are, it is the enduring problem of structural racism and the trauma of police violence against the Black community that have brought people in California and around the world to the streets to demand justice. The California Language Teachers’ Association (CLTA) stands in solidarity with all who are working to end racism, and we affirm that Black lives matter.
As language educators, we can and must play a role in making meaningful social change. This includes creating and supporting a curriculum that introduces our students to new cultural perspectives. We invite students to reflect on how their personal experiences are not universal human experiences, but are shaped by cultural perspectives and social contexts. This awareness is essential to better understand, and more importantly to challenge, patterns of privilege and systemic discrimination. Through this awareness, we help our students to develop empathy, and guide them to reimagine the world through many cultures and perspectives.
As language educators, we work to promote transformative education and to advocate for policies that support multiculturalism. We work against racism through the powerful world language programs we provide. But antiracism requires more than just understanding. Becoming an antiracist educator requires action, within and beyond the classroom. This may begin with accepting the discomfort of having uncomfortable conversations, listening to and learning from our colleagues and students of color. We may need to critically reflect upon our own teaching practices, and evaluate our curriculum for equity and representation. An excellent resource for this work can be found in ACTFL’s Words and Actions: Teaching Languages through the Lens of Social Justice.
In California, we know that our diversity is our greatest strength. Let’s work together to honor this diversity with both our words and our actions to create a more just world.
CLTA also supports and is in solidarity with the California World Language Project Statement on Social Justice. Click here to read CWLP Statement.