Along with communities in the Twin Cities, the State of Minnesota, the United States, and the world, the members of the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota grieve over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and too many others.
We, as part of an academic institution, vow to listen, educate ourselves, and change programs and policies that do not support inclusion and equity for all. We will actively search for and listen to the voices and perspectives of people not currently represented in our center so that we can engage in more inclusive and equitable research and evaluation, professional development, early childhood program quality, and reflective practice.
As early childhood professionals, we recognize that the impact of discrimination and structural racism begins early in life and has lasting effects across the lifespan. We acknowledge that the historical trauma and current effects of racism place children of color at greater risk for adverse childhood experiences, which affects their mental health and overall development through adulthood. We acknowledge that systemic racism in the current education system leads to more negative academic experiences for children of color and increased rates of suspension and expulsion from preschool and childcare programming, which in turn, leads to higher rates of dropout later in life.
We commit to active anti-racism practices–including being actively conscious about racism and taking action to end inequities–with the deep understanding that our collective future and the lives of children, especially those of color, are at stake. We commit to using the tools we have—research, evaluation, professional development, program quality, and reflective practice—to directly address bias and promote cultural humility in the early childhood workforce. We look forward to being part of a much-needed solution.