University of Illinois

2020 Impact Report
College of Education

Fighting for Social Justice

Image of people of different races

ProtestorsCollege of Education faculty continue to apply their research to create more equitable outcomes and advocate for interventions that battle systemic racism in education and society.

The College of Education has long lived out a firm commitment to social justice. The many injustices—including killings—perpetrated this year by police officers against Black people have sparked worldwide outrage and demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter and of social equity in general. These injustices, and the need for reform, have brought to the fore the steady work done in these areas by College faculty.

The faculty addressed anti-Black racism in a virtual Town Hall meeting in June 2020, with six nationally-recognized thought leaders speaking to how we can leverage the heightened awareness of racial inequity to bring about lasting change, how faculty need to continue to engage in research that informs and provides interventions for systemic and institutionalized racism, and how teacher education can be transformed to instill dispositions of equality and inclusivity in classrooms beginning with Pre-K.

"COVID-19 has further exposed and exacerbated the deep structural inequities and ugly uncomfortable truths that we as Americans continue to silently accept and normalize. So I ask of only one thing from those currently protesting. Keep organizing and keep protesting. Keep demanding equality and a seat at the table. Know that if you are not at the table, you are on the menu. Keep demanding to be acknowledged, not just for George Floyd and the countless others whose lives were unnecessarily and senselessly cut short, but for yourselves, and your futures. Don’t stop short in your pursuit of happiness. Continue demanding to be seen and heard, not only in protest, but in life, politics and policy. Keep demanding something better. Keep demanding this nation be better."
— Christopher Span, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Excerpted from Dr. Span’s, Essay: ‘Protesters, Know That I Not Only See You ... I Am You,’ News-Gazette Media