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.
CLTA’s Affirmation of Its Core Beliefs, Values and Vision for an Inclusive Global Community
WHERAS CLTA’S mission is to REIMAGINE world language through inspired leadership; CREATE AND SUPPORT powerful world language programs and services designed to promote multilingualism, multiculturalism, and global readiness as defining features of transformative education, and ADVOCATE for policies that move our vision to action, and;
WHEREAS we cannot realize our mission and authentically exist outside of the communities that we inhabit and serve;
WHEREAS CLTA *supports all members of the language education community – members of all races, religions, and countries of origin, and;
WHEREAS our power comes from the connectedness and relationships that we have with each other as human beings at home and around the world, and;
WHEREAS multilingualism and global competency are individual, community, national and global assets that transform the way that human beings perceive and relate to each other across geographical regions and cultures;
WHEREAS the cultural practices and products that we co-construct, and the “we-narratives” that we weave emanate from our shared experiences bond us into a diverse community of learners, professionals and community members;
WHEREAS our professional ethics inspire and challenge us to be open to explore beyond the known and embrace new ideas, perspectives and the contributions of diverse members of our global community, and;
WHEREAS education in general, and therefore World Language education, is a bridge to intercultural understanding, and;
WHEREAS the study of languages and cultures at home and abroad provides the opportunity to gain insight into the history, heritage, and perspectives of all California residents as well as other communities around the world, and;
WHEREAS linguistic and cultural competence, requires extensive interaction with members of the authentic culture, (heritage communities, regions or countries), and;
WHEREAS CLTA affirms its strong commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity as qualities that must be embraced by the United States and all countries around the globe’ and;
WHEREAS, all students and families affected by political or other events, regardless of their, race, religious beliefs, or country of origin have a basic right to be respected and valued;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT CLTA Board of Directors and officers hereby affirms its core beliefs, values and vision for an inclusive global community and makes it known to its membership and those assembled for the 2017 Annual CLTA conference in Monterey, California, February 15-19, 2017.