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NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

NEW YORK, Wednesday, June 15, 2016 — NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus has released the following statement regarding the tragic mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida:

There are no words to express the deep grief and overwhelming sense of sadness that we the members of NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus feel about the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and friends, the Latino and LGBTQ communities, and other vulnerable communities threatened by initiatives of terror and enacted ideologies of hatred.

For nearly 50 years, the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus has worked tirelessly in defense of our nation’s most disadvantaged populations. For decades, we have committed ourselves to a campaign of freedom to unleash, for all people to enjoy, the bountiful promises of equity, dignity, and justice. Thus, it is in opposition to stubborn acts of evil fueled by fear, ignorance, and intolerance that we reaffirm our commitment to advancing justice for all threatened groups and individuals. As such, we remain resolute in our mission to transform the world through collaborative and, when needed, subversive acts that challenge the dominant logics of violence, exclusion, and hate.

In the space in between the Orlando mass shootings and now, it has become necessary to publicly defend the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. As we do so, we keep in mind the intersectional identities of the courageous martyrs we recently lost in Orlando. Many were not only LGBTQ; they were also Latino (and Black). Thus, the recent tragedy evokes a complicated set of propositions worthy of redress. Perhaps chief among them are gun violence and homophobia, the silence on mental health and increasing discrimination against people of color. This is the very work for which the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus exists.

As an organization committed to extending more broadly the reach of equity, we affirm our treatise for justice while encouraging other organizations to join us in committing to conversations that evoke healing from (the detrimental effects of) social fascism and against the intolerable genuflection to Islamophobia. Marc Lamont Hill, a friend and CNN contributor, has termed this kind of work “wounded healing." For Hill, wounded healing is a practice of rising (though fallen), of attending to the cares of our quiet pains while working to repair and move beyond the wounds that feed them. Such a practice of healing is pivotal now because it lends a voice of leadership to conversations surrounding the transectionality of identities—that is, the ways we move between identity spaces, their fluidities and moving intersectionalities, how confusions, hardenings, and inaccuracies surround expressions of Selves and incubate deeply within the logics of unreasonable frustrations, strifes, and violence. To heal means accepting all aspects of us, and even more so as we move in and out of the labels historically used to trap us and others.
Like the transectional communities and bodies we represent, the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus’s commitment to valuing all forms of life and in particular Black, Brown and Queer lives is unwavering.

The NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus is a special interest group, formed in 1968 at the National Council of Teachers of English. It is comprised of more than four hundred English educators committed to transforming conditions in schools, texts, language, and culture that serve to devalue and dehumanize historically marginalized people, particularly people of African heritage. The organization is focused on promoting equity and access in English education and the associated domains English(es), especially when confronting race, gender, and national origin. The mission of NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus is to provide leadership and support to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers. For close to 50 years, the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus has been a transformational force inspiring change across the U.S.

Elaine Richardson
Co-Chair NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus

David E. Kirkland
Co-Chair NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus

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