College of Education > About > Statement of Support and Commitment

Statement of Support and Commitment from the DePaul University College of Education

We write today as one voice guided by the values of St. Vincent de Paul that uphold the dignity of all people. In this spirit, the College of Education is working to challenge systemic racism and to dismantle white supremacy. We are committed more than ever, as faculty, staff, and administrators, to making ourselves accountable for and actively raising awareness of the racist beliefs, behaviors, and policies that sustain discrimination and prejudice in all forms, especially in our own curriculum and practices.

We are sorrowful, distressed, and outraged by the senseless murders of African Americans in Chicago and across the country. We are called to say the names of Black people who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers--Tanisha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Michelle Cusseaux, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Tony McDade, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and scores of other Black adults, youth, and children in communities throughout the country.

Racism and white supremacy are part of the foundation of this nation, manifested in forms such as subjugation, colonization, land seizure, slavery, indentured servitude, terror lynching, separate but equal facilities, redlining, and mass incarceration. The legacy of these atrocities has resulted in power and privilege for some groups while marginalizing and dehumanizing so many others. Notwithstanding the efforts of past social justice movements to combat racism, countless human beings continue to be victimized by white supremacy, racial discrimination, and injustice.

We support the peaceful protests occurring throughout the country and the world, and we join the voices of those who call for fundamental changes in policing and accountability mechanisms and for racial justice across society. Routine violence and human rights violations against Peoples of Color are pervasive in the United States and across the globe. Below are just a few examples of the impact of such racial dehumanization both nationally and abroad:

  • Police brutality is deeply rooted in the United States and globally. While no central international database on police violence exists, the United States has a significantly higher rate of police violence when compared to other industrialized nations, including Australia, Britain, Canada, and France. Every year, police officers in the United States arrest, imprison and kill more people per capita than in any other of these nations, and with Black residents disproportionately targeted;
  • Like high-profile police killings in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Austin — the manner of killings and justifications offered by governmental officials vary, as do the consequences for the police officers involved. Yet, one common thread running through these deadly incidents is that the victims are disproportionately Black;
  • Structural racism within the criminal justice system is reflected in the mass incarceration of Peoples of Color; in regular incidents of police intimidation, aggression, and brutality that disproportionately occur in low-income Black and Latinx communities; and in “stop and frisk” practices that often violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Documented inequalities, past and present, in education, employment, housing, health, income, and wealth are caused and perpetuated by private practices and public policies that readily benefit whites while discounting and disadvantaging Black peoples. We see similar inequalities currently in the blatant violation of civil liberties of Peoples of Color with respect to voting, US citizenship and residency, and the right to join with others in peaceful protest.
  • Intergenerational effects of white supremacy are catastrophic for individuals, families, and communities. The unwillingness of government officials to consider and implement new strategies to reverse a legacy of adverse policy outcomes perpetuates the long-standing and divergent realities for Black peoples in comparison to their white counterparts.

Our Mission

As a College of Education, our mission is to prepare educators, counselors, and leaders who are committed to creating equitable, compassionate, intellectually rich, and socially just environments. As part of a Vincentian university, our College cultivates social conscience, knowledge and practices necessary to address social inequities among and with individuals, communities, and institutions. We develop critical, creative practitioners and scholars who continually inquire and reflect on educational and professional practices. Through authentic experiences in and outside the classroom, we educate our students to be engaged, service-oriented citizens of local and global communities.

We believe that we must work together to continue asking hard questions and producing answers that may be difficult for those in power or positions of privilege to accept. A desire for systemic change compels us to work together to disrupt and end the racism that has produced multiple forms of violence in our nation. This must begin with our work in the classroom and around the university campus to listen, to seek, and to more fully acknowledge the many events that have led us to this point. It also must begin with our work in communities to challenge those who view Black existence as a threat.

Our Commitment

The College of Education supports the growth of the present movement beyond the moment. We fully recognize that institutionalized oppression cannot be undone overnight, which makes our work ongoing with the ultimate goal of being transformative. We also acknowledge that the growth on our part may be discomforting for some students, faculty, staff, and administrators. However, if there is no discomfort in engaging this work, then there is no authentic growth or change. With all of this in mind, the College of Education is committed to the following actions:

  • To prioritize justice and systemic change through a Vincentian lens;
  • To work in an inclusive and collaborative manner in developing systems that create a campus and society that unequivocally rejects anti-Blackness and white supremacy;
  • To display compassion and civility while challenging ourselves in this historic moment;
  • To work with students, staff, faculty, and administrators to address structural racism and other systems of power, privilege and oppression within our college and university;
  • To host and participate in anti-racist conversations with staff, faculty, students and administrators during the next academic year;
  • To enhance our curriculum to build deeper understandings of and empathy for peoples impacted by racism;
  • To incorporate anti-racist pedagogy in preparing our students to combat racism and prejudice in order to develop their capacity to advocate for their own students and clients;
  • To collaborate with local organizations to support their work of creating equitable environments and access to those environments for those disadvantaged by racism;
  • To strengthen existing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the college;
  • To scrutinize our own practices, procedures, and policies that perpetuate structural racism and exclusion.

We pledge to hold ourselves accountable to engaging in these actions. We invite you to hold us accountable as well.