JoLLE’s Statement Regarding Black Lives

Friday, June 5, 2020

Dear JoLLE Community,

In the last few months we have experienced the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd; the subsequent protests; the systemic racism of public institutions; the death of members of the Black community in far higher numbers than others from COVID-19; and the pain of so many. These incidents demonstrate what so many people have known for far too long: That Black lives do not matter in the hearts and minds of far too many people in our country, and that the cost is immeasurable and devastating.

We at JoLLE are committed to the life, living, vibrancy, and joy of Black people. We support initiatives that are aimed at ending white supremacy and police violence. Research and education cannot be apolitical, because we influence and affect the education and lives of young people and engage with their humanity. These issues are also of concern in the manner in which scholarship is funded, authored, vetted, referenced, and published. Our work is fundamentally political.

As educators and scholars, we can either work toward ending white supremacy, or help to maintain it. As such, we at JoLLE find it necessary to declare our support in the fight for equality for oppressed people—at this moment in history, especially Black people—and also to “do the work” of building a more equitable society in which all people feel free and safe.  

At JoLLE we have done this work through the publication of articles, the planning of equity-centered conferences, and the adoption of an activist stance toward social justice. In the coming weeks we will be highlighting the work of Black scholars who have published in JoLLE and will use our social media accounts to share important work relating to Black justice, scholarship, thought, and critical action. This initial effort will introduce, through our Take 2 and Scholars Speak Out features, a series dedicated to highlighting research relating to justice and equity. And we will continue to push ourselves to innovate with new and better ways to contribute to the development of a humane world.

In her powerful essay, “Against Prisons and the Pipeline to Them,” Crystal T. Laura calls for educators to commit to a system of school that results in “No. School. Wounds.” Laura’s call highlights the fact that school and education systems often do, in fact, inflict wounds on students, teachers, parents, administrators, and scholars. These systems are not confined to K-12 schools or universities. They extend to the political structure of professional organizations, the editorial work of scholarly and popular presses, the treatment of faculty creating pathways and support for advancement, and other institutional settings where systemic racism is less visible than in the disproportionate disciplinary referrals and other tangible evidence of inequity in schools.

It is high time for the United States, and particularly its white citizens, to acknowledge that racialized oppression inflicts wounds, some of which are deadly. As a society, we must act, think, read, and write differently. Now can be a time of uncomfortable change. JoLLE is committed to helping to produce that change.

To all of our community, thank you. And to those on the front lines of the protest and action, either in the streets, in classrooms, or in your words and thoughts, thanks to you. Please do not hesitate to contribute suggestions or feedback on our efforts. They will provide a vital impetus for our growth.

In solidarity,

The JoLLE Editorial Board


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