NAME's 2023 Annual Conference was an inspiring event
NAME's 2023 Annual Conference, November 15-19 in Montgomery AL, was a terrific time to reconnect and re-energize our work. In our first in-person national gathering in several years, members found new and old friends who share the commitment to meet today's significant challenges to our work. We gained inspiration from the words of national leaders, including Equal Justice Initiative Founder and Director, Bryan Stevenson, whose talk followed NAME's special Immersive Experience in the powerful Legacy Museum, Wednesday afternoon. We learned of political realities in our members conservative states. We were inspired by student performers and learned details of Alabama's civil rights history. The conference included typical NAME conference features: Intensive Institutes, the Annual Multicultural Film Festival and the Annual Banquet and awards; and, also included some new aspects including a Banned Book-In.
We look forward to maintaining our relationships with new members and our renewed contacts in the Southern states.
NAME extends its deepest gratitude to all who contributed to the planning, delivery and total experience of NAME's Montgomery Conference. We hope to see you all at the 2024 NAME Conference!
NAME's Executive Director: Ms. Charlene Lui
Wins National Recognition
On March 28, 2023 NAME's Executive Director, Charlene Lui, was recognized as an Asian American/Pacific Islander Pioneer Women Leader with a national award from OCA National Asian Pacific American Advocates in Washington DC. Along with Kaying Yang and Michelle Yang, Charlene participated in a webinar and received the well deserved recognition.
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) announced that after a thorough and comprehensive search, effective July 1, 2022, Ms. Charlene Lui assumed the role of Executive Director. We are thrilled to have found such an ideal individual to fulfill the role who has deep and wide knowledge of multicultural education, social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion as well as long standing, demonstrated commitment to NAME and its mission, vision and values. Prior to this appointment, Charlene Lui volunteered to serve as the interim Executive Director after the loss of our beloved former leader, Bette Tate-Beaver.
“After engaging in a rigorous search process with an extensive pool of highly qualified candidates, we are so excited to have Charlene Lui as our permanent Executive Director. She possesses the organizational knowledge, as well as the skillsets, dispositions and strategic thinking needed to engage with stakeholders and continue moving our organization forward. Charlene brings a wealth of experiences to this role, and there is no doubt that she will be a champion for driving forth equity through the work that we do as an organization,” said Dean Lisa Zagumny, President of the National Association for Multicultural Education. “I would like to thank the Executive Director Search Committee for their hard work throughout this robust and rigorous search process.”
Please join us in welcoming and congratulating Charlene Lui with a warm NAME welcome!
NAME Statement on the Overturning of ROE V. WADE
Like much of America, the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) views the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling on June 24 overturning the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision as a devastatingly backward move against women’s rights.
The decision by the majority conservative court means that abortion no longer is legal nationwide. The ruling sends the issue of how to regulate abortion back to the states. Already, 13 states across the country are enacting “trigger laws” that will ban abortions within 30 days. Several other states are expected to pass similar legislation, affecting about half of the nation.
This is despite a Pew Research Center study in June 2022 showing that 61 percent of adult Americans “say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.” The fervent political activism of anti-abortion groups, however, has chiseled and chipped away at Roe v. Wade since it became the law of the land in 1973. The court then held that a woman had the right under the 14th Amendment to decide for herself whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term.
The high court’s decision to reverse that is a tremendous setback for women’s rights, making them unable to determine health outcomes involving their own bodies. NAME realizes, though, that the court’s recent action won’t stop women from seeking abortions. Before Roe v. Wade, an estimated 1.2 million American women had illegal abortions, and an estimated 5,000 American women died each year from those unsafe procedures. NAME knows that no one wants to return to that time period in American history.
U.S. President Joe Biden on the day of the ruling called the Supreme Court decision “a sad day for the court and the country.” NAME backs Biden, who added: “Let’s be very clear, the health and life of women across this nation are now at risk.”
The president also said, “the court has done what it’s never done before — expressly taking away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans.”
But the question after the leaked Supreme Court draft earlier this year and the official opinion this summer is what happens now to women who find themselves confronting an unwanted pregnancy. Planned Parenthood remains a stalwart in this ongoing struggle offering vital information for women in need.
Planned Parenthood first advises women with a trusted health care provider to determine how far along their pregnancy might be so they can better understand their options, including traveling to another state where abortions remain legal. For lower income women, particularly women of color, having the money for travel and the procedure may seem as impossible as walking on the moon. Planned Parenthood and other organizations are available to offer guidance and help.
Also, unlike the period before Roe v. Wade, abortion pills provide a safer alternative to in-clinic abortions for women. But Planned Parenthood advises women to know the legal risks involved before pursuing the “self-managed abortion.”
The issue of abortion has been a highly contentious and emotional in the United States long before Roe v. Wade. It remains so today and will continue as such long after the current ruling. NAME knows that first and foremost, the country has to grapple with ensuring that all children born into the United States are welcomed, loved, properly cared for and educated so that all life is valued and respected.
The nation is far from that goal. Yet, that has to remain the goal.
To DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT CLICK HERE.
NAME Statement on the Massacre at Robb Elementary School
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) stands with those who are beyond frustrated, pained, angered, and traumatized by gun violence, particularly after the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead in Uvalde, Texas. We are beyond writing statements, holding moments of silence, and calling for policy reforms.
These senseless killings recur so often that the nation goes through a new age Kubler-Ross stages of grief. But instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, each mass shooting hits with:
- Shock — that another school, theater, business, concert or other public space has been targeted by a man armed with military grade weapons;
- Tearful sadness — Over the lives lost in bloody carnage, those further affected by the physical and emotional wounds, and those who re-experience vicarious trauma;
- Cycles of Normalization— As endless news reports create an overwhelming sense of helplessness to do anything other than grieve and be traumatized;
- Empathy — For children, parents, schools and communities, most of which already experience disproportionate racist, sexist, and heterosexist assaults;
- Expected sympathy — From the president, governor and other outsider politicians who visit the affected and continue onto the next episode;
- Organizing outcry — As calls for gun control and gun safety cycle anew, only to fail to achieve any semblance of control, while larger issues of rage and trauma remain unaddressed;
- Anger — Because we have been here before, and as memory of horror fades into overwhelming impossibility, we know full well the next is just around the corner, starting the gun stages of grief over again.
State and national lawmakers’ continued inaction to protect the public from mass shootings leaves all schools, children, educators, public places and communities with little hope. Our statistics are grim. As of May 25, 145 days into 2022, the U.S. has experienced 213 mass shootings, National Public Radio reported. That is about the same amount as last year; we continue to kill each other with seemingly no end in sight.
The killings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde follow the May 14 racially motivated slayings of 10 Black people at the supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. On April 12, a gunman opened fire on a New York City subway, wounding 23 people. The grim list like blood bursting from a bullet wound goes on and on.
People in the United States own more firearms than anywhere else on the planet. Americans possess 393.3 million firearms. That’s 120.5 guns per 100 residents. Perhaps if people knew the ugly root of the gun lobby’s precious Second Amendment, they would not tolerate inaction over gun laws. Carol Anderson writes in the “Self-Defense” chapter of The 1619 Project that:
One of the purposes of the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militia” was to suppress uprisings of the enslaved. Though it did not explicitly say so, the Second Amendment was motivated in large part by a need for the new federal government to assure white people in the South that they would be able to defend themselves against Black people.
This also may be why many advocates of racism want to outlaw The 1619 Project’s use in schools to better educate children about America’s past. But with this knowledge, NAME knows that with slavery having been abolished with the December 6, 1865, ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, that there no longer is a need for the Second Amendment and such unchecked purchase and ownership of firearms.
NAME also knows that curbing the gun proliferation problem is not enough to transform from the causes of violent masculinity that continues its rageful ways, but gun safety is one logical step. The deeper conversation, about how we heal from the toxic violence that the US fosters around the world, is one NAME advocates. Given ongoing attacks against educators, against social justice movements, NAME encourages investment in schools as a way to prepare youth to survive and transform from violence to healing love. Only with sustained, elevated efforts to transform schooling into healing can we adopt the motto Jews worldwide used after the Holocaust — NEVER AGAIN!
To DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT CLICK HERE.
NAME Statement on the Buffalo Mass Shooting of Black People
The National Association for Multicultural Education recognizes the-all-to familiar disbelief, sorrow, and outrage following yet another white gunman’s mass killings of Black people, this time on May 7 in Buffalo, N.Y. A white supremacist male shot thirteen people, murdering 10 at a grocery store in a mostly African American neighborhood. Authorities said the 18-year old mass murderer planned the racist assault at least two months in advance, previously scoping out the supermarket, presumably on the lookout for unarmed Black elders.
This white supremacist had posted a 180-page document online, detailing how he “planned to kill as many Blacks as possible.” He echoed mainstream white supremacist conspiracy theories, including the “replacement” theory or “white replacement” theory that argues for extermination of most people on the planet. National Public Radio reports that these white supremacist theories have recently moved into the mainstream, elevated by Republican politicians, media, and ex-President Trump’s own efforts. These beliefs, which blame immigrants of color for white America’s purported struggles, have gained traction through Fox News and other intentionally racist news outlets, extending the willful ignorance and anti-Black, anti-Jewish, anti-Asian, anti-people of color efforts of white supremacist movements.
NAME reminds that murderous attacks like the one in Buffalo are intimately connected to the foundation of U.S. society. The 1619 Project, clearly reports many instances during and after slavery of Black people being slaughtered:
“Things were no different in the twentieth century. In Atlanta in 1906, white men went on a killing spree against Black people in the city. On trolleys, in barbershops, in hotel lobbies, on street corners, African Americans were hunted down and slaughtered.”
This same anti-Black violence, echoed by ongoing police murders of unarmed Black people, mirrors the anti-critical race theory assault on public education, as white movements aim to enact genocide against Black communities. With sustained assaults on reproductive rights, on queer and trans communities, and on the right to exist, NAME urges vigilance in safety and care for each other. In these ongoing daily anti-human violences, NAME remains committed to the teaching of multicultural education, and to healing practices of rest and love, as foundations for the collective movement building we need.
TO DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT CLICK HERE.
NAME Statement on Confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), like much of the rest of the country, celebrates the U.S. Senate’s vote on April 7, confirming U.S. Appeals Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first African American woman to hold a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her appointment to the highest court in the country fulfills a campaign promise of President Joe Biden to appoint a Black woman if a seat opened up. She will replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who earlier announced that he will be retiring this summer. Jackson will be sworn in at that time.
When Jackson is seated as a justice, the Supreme Court for the first time in its 233-year history, will have four women justices — Jackson, 51; Sonia Sotomayor, 67; Elena Kagan, 61; and Amy Coney Barrett, 50. While this representation gives pause to celebrate, NAME reminds that only three of the four women justices have advocated for the rights of women in their careers, recognizing that representation is a necessary, but insufficient civil rights goal.
Indeed, the racist, sexist, publicly disrespectful treatment that Justice Brown Jackson had to endure in the Senate confirmation process reinforces the anti-Black women context the U.S. continues to elevate. During the hours-long Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, the imminently qualified Jackson showed great professionalism and patient restraint by putting up with Republicans’ intentionally inaccurate and offensive attacks on her record. The delay in the vote due to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky arriving late, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim Inhofe voting from the GOP cloakroom because they were not wearing ties as is required by Senate rules on the floor represent intentional public displays of disrespect for Jackson, and for all Black women.
Like so many Black women before her, Justice Brown Jackson modeled poise and professionalism in the face of blatant lies and intentional white supremacist disrespect. No person should have to face such targeted attacks, and yet the hearing revealed, yet again, how U.S. politics normalizes anti-Blackness, especially in relation to Black women. NAME understands that such behavior intentionally reinforces the need for the public to be intimately aware of the teachings of critical race theory as well as The 1619 Project to fully understand how racism continues to negatively impact African Americans.
Yet such healing, community-driven movements remain open targets for censure and elimination in schools and colleges by Republican-led state legislatures nationwide as well as local school boards throughout the country. NAME strongly encourages our Democratic lawmakers to stand proudly by educators, parents and students to honor Justice Brown Jackson by ensuring educators are adequately prepared and supported to teach children a robust multicultural education that honors the many Black women who have led the way towards a more just union.
NAME knows that the 6-3 conservative slant of the Supreme Court will not change as a result of Jackson being confirmed as a justice, however, despite all of the negativity, the progress shown by her appointment cannot be ignored and must be celebrated.
TO DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT CLICK HERE.
NAME Statement on Governor Abbott’s Anti-Trans Call to Violence
The effects of anti-Transgender legislation on Transgender students and their families is well-documented, with around 75% of Transgender students reporting feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. Despite the clear evidence that shows that Trans kids are psychologically healthier and less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors when their gender is affirmed, Texas Governor Greg Abbott doubled-down on the attack against Transgender children recently with a directive that equates gender-affirming care as “child abuse.” Even worse, the directive orders teachers, doctors, and other licensed professionals to report the parents of any child who is undergoing gender-affirming treatment to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for prosecution.
NAME strongly condemns this action by the Texas governor. Children should not be subjected to the bigoted and baseless opinions of elected leaders, and teachers should never be in the position of having to go against their own values–and the safety of Transgender children–to satisfy a directive that deliberately denies facts and intentionally causes harm to Transgender kids and their families. This directive will only ignite fear and anxiety among all those who help Transgender children become their full and authentic selves and increase the already high rates of suicidality among Transgender children.
Such efforts to criminalize humans are not new, and indeed, are the foundation of the United States. From colonization to slavery, from Chinese exclusion laws to banning Jewish immigrants during the buildup to WWII, the United States has continued exclusionary, exploitative, and violent ways, always in the service of white supremacy. 30 years ago, California voters passed Proposition 187 in 1994, which effectively required public servants (teachers, social workers) to report suspected undocumented immigrants. While Prop 187 was held up by the courts as unconstitutional, such efforts align in a long arc of white supremacy, eugenics, sexism, heteronormativity, and ongoing state-sanctioned oppression, specifically by requiring public servants to aid in the criminalization of an already targeted group of people.
NAME recognizes and encourages educators to teach about Governor Abbott’s current attempt as just the latest in a long line of efforts to ultimately end the existence of Trans people. This is a call to violence that is paralleled by other states, athlete bans across the states and Olympics, and can be seen in the intentional isolation of Trans people fleeing violence in Ukraine. Educators must resist these anti-Trans actions, in part through teaching, but also through policy, praxis, and elevated calls for direct action to support and affirm Trans community rights.
NAME would like to elevate the work of Catalano, Haslerig, Jourian, and Nicolazzo, whose Association for the Study of Higher Education convened report, “An Affirmation of Trans Livelihood In and Beyond Postsecondary Education” offers immediate actions for scholarship, pedagogical praxis, and policy efforts. This report, and others like it, map transformation from the violence of educationally enforced gender binaries, towards a full affirmation and support of Trans people and communities in all areas of society, and most particularly, schools and colleges.
CONGRATULATIONS to our 2022 NAME Award Winners
Carl A. Grant Research Award
G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award
Multicultural Children’s Publication Award
Lulu the One and Only
Author: Lynnette Mawhinney
Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award
Civic Education in the Age of Mass Migration: Theory and Practice
Author: Angela Banks
NAME Presidential Chapter Award
Texas Chapter of NAME