We wanted to reach out to you to express our deep sadness, anger, and disgust about the senseless loss of life due to institutionalized racism — we are sure that others in our community share these sentiments.
As a community, we reaffirm our commitment to stand in solidarity against racism and violence. Systemic racism is an ongoing trauma that goes against all that we value. However, members of our community who have not experienced systemic racism may be unaware of how pervasive it is.
Is there anything we can do individually and as a research society? Answering this question is not easy and yet inaction is no longer acceptable. As a start, those of us who are not targets of systemic racism need to empathize with and stand alongside all of those who are. It is our individual and collective responsibilities to facilitate meaningful social change.
We need to create a more equitable and inclusive research society, of which I made an explicit part of my platform when assuming the role of Chair of the Governing Board last year. Making that an explicit goal of our society is an important first step, and we encourage feedback from the membership on how we may fully realize the goals of equity, justice, and the celebration of diversity. Part of this work is to recognize, respond, and redress inequity, bias, and discrimination, and “cultivate and sustain bias-free and discrimination-free communities, which requires an understanding that doing so is a basic responsibility for everyone in a civil society,” (Gorski & Swalwell, 2015, p. 37)1.
We all play a role in facilitating social change. Please join us in committing to being part of the solution and offer ways to facilitate the change and reform that is so desperately needed. We will be scheduling an opportunity for attendees of the annual conference to discuss ways for the Society to promote social justices and become a more diverse community.
As a community that studies language, we can recognize the power and meaning of the phrase, Black Lives Matter. Let that sentiment guide our thoughts and actions.
on behalf of the Society for Text and Discourse
1Gorski, P. C., & Swalwell, K. (2015). Equity literacy for all. Educational Leadership, March 2015, 34-40. http://www.edchange.org/publications/Equity-Literacy-for-All.pdf