Community College Research Initiatives

Racial Equity Statement and Call to Action

Updated as of June 11, 2020

We condemn the racism, discrimination, and fear that permeates communities across our nation. We stand in solidarity with protesters and activists who condemn the racial injustice that pervades America, and we commit ourselves to do our part in seeking immediate change toward racial justice. We understand that the racial inequity documented in decades of educational research has failed to democratize schools and colleges. We must do more.

While Coleman’s (1966) seminal report, “Equality of Educational Opportunity” exposed systematic disparities between white students and students of color over a half-century ago, deep-seated disparities continue to this day. Police violence against people of color must end. Injustices in healthcare, basic living and sustenance, and working conditions spotlighted by COVID-19 are unacceptable and must be addressed. We, therefore, call for educational researchers to join us in using an explicit racial equity lens in studying higher education in the United States, including community colleges and their students.

In his statement on police killings of Black people, American Educational Research Association (AERA) President Shaun Harper implored educational researchers to recognize that first and foremost, we are citizen-scholars who are obligated to conduct research that fuels transformative change. Our Community College Research Initiatives (CCRI) group at the University of Washington is inspired by Dr. Harper and Dr. Estela Bensimon at the University of Southern California who model how researchers should center equity-mindedness in their work. We embrace using an explicit racial lens to generate actionable knowledge that advances equity in community colleges, and all of education. This commitment reflects our core values and points us toward generating new knowledge necessary to dismantle structural racism and create a new future for education. Our commitment includes generating evidence to reform policy and practice into more socially just higher education in our state and across America.

Please join us in our journey to transform education to achieve racial equity. Policy and practice informed by actionable racial equity-conscious research are pivotal to achieving a more socially just education system.