CATESOL stands against racism in every manifestation. Specifically, we stand together with our Black sisters and brothers to condemn the acts of police brutality and white supremacy which have resulted in oppression and genocide of people of color, and we collectively raise our voices to demand justice and peace. Furthermore, we recognize our obligation to participate actively in the reconstruction of a society based on principles of equity and social justice. Our students and teachers hail from all corners of the globe, and they bring with them their own stories of racial injustice, discrimination, religious oppression, gender, language and class inequity, and political persecution. They come to the United States because this is supposed to be a country that is free from those horrors; instead, they must learn to navigate a new environment of oppression which they had hoped to leave behind in another land. As English Language Teachers, we are obligated to teach more than language; we must give our students the tools to engage in a multicultural social discourse and assertion of civil and human rights, noting that the pathway to that fluency cannot be separated from this nation’s history of oppression and inequity. We, as educators, need to impart this fluency, and before we can do that, we, ourselves, need to embody those principles.
Our goal is to teach language and promote intercultural exchange and respect; however, this is not enough when we unwittingly participate in a system perpetuating oppression through an emphasis on assimilation to the host culture which ends up rewarding students for conformity to white supremacist norms without appropriately interrogating the tensions that are created inside a multicultural environment (see Ladson-Billings and Tate, 1995). Anti-racism must be threaded throughout our curriculum, for it is the only path forward to ensure a future which ensures validation and legitimacy for our students. We call on every ESOL practitioner to commit to ending structural racism and crafting a sustainable future for our students and our colleagues.
Towards this end, CATESOL pledges the following:
CATESOL asks that all members actively contribute ideas, resources, and actions to hold us accountable in our commitment to inclusivity, anti-racism, and social justice. This organization is only as good as its members make it, and we rely on the strength of your voice and resolve.
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