7. Create statements of support
It is useful when colleges and universities show their support of communities that are facing the many injustices of society and culture, says Williams. “Higher education needs to declare its support of protesters who are peacefully protesting for equal rights while providing a contextualized, deep analysis as to why people may turn to looting given the historical disenfranchisement of their communities.”
She adds, “It is important to also differentiate these instances with people who don’t actually live in the communities where the protests are taking place, and who cause damage and then return to their predominantly white, affluent communities as was happening in the city Oakland where Mills College is located.”
However, some critics question the effectiveness of statements that do not have a clear set of practices or policies to make real changes in the lives of constituents. Schools can therefore identify what it means to be a critical partner, and determine what systemic and structural changes can make them more accessible to the communities in which they are located, says Williams. These can then be made into calls to action and added to that statement.
Schools are also encouraged to adopt how scholars frame and reexamine injustice. Journalist and scholar Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project is an example in which, “She realized the length of time that racial injustice has existed, particularly for Black Americans, and articulated the legacy of 400 years of frustrated dreams and efforts due to racial inequality, which undergirds the force and persistence of the movements today.”
Williams adds, “This is a critical framing for higher ed and schools of education particularly as we prepare educators capable of cultivating equitable education contexts for all children.”