As we continue to observe the pervasive and enduring acts of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and colonialism—deeply rooted in our nation—we recognize that our campuses are not decoupled from that history; they are microcosms of what is playing out in larger society. As senior scholars, we affirm our responsibilities to speak to these issues. We believe it is not unpatriotic or un-American to encourage research, teaching, and leadership that has a clear-eyed view of our nation’s past and its present-day effects.
Current and former ACPA Senior Scholars have written compelling posts in the ACPA Black Lives Matter blog (i.e., Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, Sherry K. Watt, D-L Stewart, Robert T. Palmer, and Florence M. Guido). Through their labor, they provide thoughtful testimony and call us all to do the critical work to address systemic racism and fight against anti-Blackness and white supremacy on our campuses and in our communities and nation. These scholars’ words echo the truths and principles of ACPA’s Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization (SIRJD). We firmly believe that to do the work of the imperative we express our unequivocal support for and commitment to Black Lives Matter.
During her presidency in 2016, Donna Lee called on members of ACPA to engage in conversations on racial justice with one another, which then spurred the call for action in the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice. In 2017, ACPA President Stephen John Quaye expanded the Imperative to become the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization (SIRJD) in recognition of the need to acknowledge explicitly the unique position of Indigenous people relative to whiteness and settler colonialism. The SIRJD calls each of us to examine our role and to act in pursuit of racial justice and decolonization.
Recent conversations among the ACPA Senior Scholars led to the following commitments and actions from our group.
1. We will prioritize and center the SIRJD in our selection of Senior Scholars, Emerging Scholars, and grant awards.
2. Grounded in scholarship, we will use our platform within ACPA to build diversity, equity, and inclusion capacity to dismantle systemic racism and settler colonialism in our association, on our campuses, and in our communities.
3. We will strengthen existing partnerships (e.g., governing board, entity groups, and commissions) and build new ones within ACPA to advance the SIRJD across the association.
4. We will strengthen our existing partnerships with the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and NASPA: Student Affairs Educators in Higher Education and build new connections with other scholarly and professional organizations (e.g., ACE, AERA, NASAP, NCORE) to support scholarship that aligns with the SIRJD.
Finally, the SIRJD calls us to address racial justice and decolonization programmatically and structurally. Therefore, we will work within the ACPA Senior Scholars to acknowledge, interrogate, and dismantle the ways in which white supremacy and settler colonialism has and does operate within the group and to close the gap between our espoused and our enacted values and actions. Addressing the norms and ideologies governing our interactions and practices is our starting point.
We believe that accountability promotes transparency, improvement, and responsibility. Therefore, in our individual and collective works within and beyond our association, we will hold one another accountable as we continue to do this work and will communicate our progress to the Association.