Re-sending to our full AFT Distribution List with permission from San Diego City College Professor and AFT Guild member Abdimalik Buul.
Tonight, I write to you as a black man and a colleague who has the privilege to live another day and not be a hashtag. The senseless now documented killings of unarmed black men and increasingly woman have become an unbearable reality for many. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd amongst many other precious human souls who have become hashtags has been a stark reality for all of America to witness. As educators no matter our role in the system as classified professionals, faculty or administrators we are uniquely positioned to impact the lives of many of our Black students. I have seen numerous resolutions and statements of solidarity that have made me hopeful about the direction we are headed as a society. However, we are passed symbolism and resolutions, we are at a juncture as a society where the lines of justice and oppression have been drawn. Where the co-opting of causes are not only in the streets but in our hiring practices, budgets, classrooms, curriculum, and equity plans. Where Black students hopes and dreams are suffocated in our offices, syllabus, classrooms be it intentional or unintentional. As the Mecca of social justice and as life-long learners who empower our students to be educated I am calling everyone IN and not OUT.
I am challenging all those who’s souls have been struck by the malice we see with the destruction of black bodies to nurture black minds. When we say Black Lives Matter, know that it is a plea of just existing and surviving. It is not a plea for excellence or thriving. Black lives mattering is the minimum and baseline. Black Lives should be honored, adored and valued. I am going to center my conversation moving forward in Black issues that is what Black lives matter means to me. I know many other injustices exist and must be dealt with. I would like to publicly applaud our leadership team at AFT, Executive Leadership Team, Trustees, the faculty who signed the joint letter from the Black Studies and Chicano studies department, Coach Mitch Charlens and June Cressy for their bold statements on our DL and modeling ways of Black lives Mattering. My humble request is to do the following:
1. Actively educate ourselves on the issues at hand and how systematic and institutional racism works. Some good books are:
- 1. “How to Be an Antiracist,” by Ibram X. Kendi,
- 2. “White Fragility,” by Robin DiAngelo,
- 3. “So You Want to Talk About Race,” by Ijeoma Oluo.
- 4. “The New Jim Crowe :” by Michelle Alexander
2. Actively discuss Anti-Black Misandry ( Fear of Black Men) in your respective communities. The victims rarely are asked about how the crime that happened to them could have been avoided. In fact, we call it victim blaming or shaming. Why folks turn to people of color about how to deal with racism is just as asinine as asking if a rape victim dress was too short or had it been longer would have avoided the rape. I would like for people of privilege to have conversations on how to prevent future BBQ Becky’s, Karen’s, and Amy Coopers. We have the conversation on how to act when pulled over by the police, now it’s time for folks to have the conversation of why even call the police. If these are transpiring please update us.
3. Occasionally post on the DL progress of how these actions and knowledge is impacting your lives. Racist actions are stimulated by thoughts and beliefs. It is important to decolonize your mindset and we are all working towards that collectively and individually. I struggle myself with internalized racism. A manifestation of that is me going by Abdul or Malik and not my full name due to making things simple for the dominant society. Today I no longer will do that as I unshackle myself from those chains and will herby go by name Abdimalik or my last name Buul. If folks can say Corey lewandowski or George Stephanopoulos they sure can say Abdimalik.
Did I just assign the campus homework ? I sure did. We do it to our students all the time. Only difference this time is the rubric is Justice and the metric of grading is rooted in your ability to critically think, reflect and analyze your surrounding environments and ensure this world is a better place because of your actions. We all have some power to change even if it’s the mind of a family member or friend let us do it with love and compassion. We are the change we have been waiting for.
Black Lives Mattering is the minimum,
(A Black Man)
Abdimalik Buul Ed.D
Transfer Center Director
Assistant Professor/ Counselor
San Diego City College
1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101-4787
(619) 388-3400 ext 3722
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”