The California-based organization, A2MEND, was recently awarded $1.1M to expand their student mentoring program across the state’s 116 community colleges.
Dr. Edward Bush and Dr. Abdilmalik Buul, both representing A2MEND, talk to EAB’s Meacie Fairfax about how institutions can create the conditions where Black students, and Black male students in particular, are more likely to succeed both in and outside of the classroom.
0:00:10.6 Meacie Fairfax: Hello, and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. This week's episode is a discussion between me, Meacie Fairfax, and Dr. Edward Bush and Abdimalik Buul, executive board members of AMEND and California Community College administrators. They provide insights on how to create conditions for Black student success and discuss the need for deep reflection among college leadership to become agents of change for their institutions, because every institutional decision has racial implications. Thank you for listening today and enjoy.
0:00:48.8 MF: Hello and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. I'm thrilled to have on the line with us today, Dr. Edward Bush, President of Cosumnes River College and Dr. Abdimalik Buul, who is currently serving as a two year visiting executive of educational excellence at the California college chancellor's office. Dynamic in their own right, they jointly serve as executive board members of the AMEND organization. AMEND which stands for the African American Male Education Network and Development program, was created in 2006 to ensure the interest and success of Black students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Dr. Bush and Dr. Buul, along with AMEND colleagues are using their expertise broadly to increase the success of Black males at California's Community colleges to create a new landscape for Black males to succeed. Thank you for joining us.
0:01:42.8 Dr. Edward Bush: Thank you for having us.
0:01:44.2 Dr. Abdimalik Buul: Yeah, we really appreciate the opportunity to be here.
0:01:47.8 MF: Well, I'm thrilled to have you on the line and let's just jump in. One of the things that we continue to see are drops in enrollment across higher ed, especially at our community colleges. One of the most troubling and staggering statistics is highly cited as a 21% drop in the number of Black males enrolling at our community colleges. Schools that are seemingly highly accessible and affordable, close to where these students live and work. How would you describe the current landscape that Black students find themselves navigating?
0:02:15.9 DB: Yeah. I think one of the things, one we really have to... I'm gonna step back and look at that data and see the people that's connected to the data and begin to think about what is the long term impact for Black males not gaining access to these institutions. I think we just first just need to take that in 'cause oftentimes we just read data and we get necessitated, desensitized to the impact on the meaning behind the data. So I would just welcome us and the listeners to really just take that in, especially when we think about the implications of not achieving post-secondary education, not earning an associate's degree or not earning a bachelor's degree, then we knowing what is going to be the long term impact in terms of breaking a cycle of poverty, being able to earn a livable wage, so on and so forth.
0:03:10.8 DB: One of the things though, I think community colleges have really rested on the idea that we are affordable and accessible, that means that equals success, or that means that students are going to have a positive experience or gravitate to those institutions because of that. While they may be accessible and affordable doesn't mean it's necessarily conducive to African American students. And so, oftentimes, the struggle that Black males have is navigating a system and structure that is not designed for them, where they show up and don't see themselves reflected in the curriculum. They're not represented inside of the classroom, either by students, other students, oftentimes Black male students find themselves as the only one inside the classroom. And they're definitely more times than not don't see themselves represented in front of the classroom. How we teach, what we teach, how we serve, oftentimes is antithetical to Black male culture and experience.
0:04:15.0 DB: And so I think we need to recognize as community colleges that we need to be more than just accessible and affordable, if we wanna attract Black male students. And before I pass it to Dr. Buul, we know that success breeds success and failure breeds failure. And so when we look at the data, we see a perpetual right gap in opportunities and outcomes for Black male students. And so that message spreads. And I always ask ourselves this question, we said we want Black male students in our institution, but how can we get conscience, actively recruit Black male students when we know what their experience is gonna be inside of our institution? So we are recruiting them to fail? 50% rates in college level math. We're recruiting them to more than likely not persist from fall to spring semester? Are we recruiting them so they won't less likely to transfer or to get an associate's degree? So we need to fundamentally change the structure on what community colleges are, we're gonna best serve Black male students.
0:05:21.7 DB: Absolutely. And I would echo and agree everything that Dr. Bush stated. In addition to that, there has to be non-traditional methods. So we know the setting is not traditional in a sense that it wasn't constructed or designed for them to succeed as was stated, the curriculum, the faculty, the staff, the representation, the symbolism, the engagement. In essence, you're dealing literally with the remnants of the preschool to prison pipelines, even the criminalization of Black males. You'll experience that at these campuses. So offset that, I'll give you a personal example.
0:06:02.7 DB: I remember when I was in a campus college, going back to college, there was a Black male counselor sitting on the table at the library recruiting for the Moser program, which is an Afro-centric program, and he literally yelled out to me, Hey, you wanna sign up and all. I was like, "No, I'm good". That was another recruiter like in the military recruiter, you see all these people, and he said "Well, you ain't ready". And I said, "What you mean?" That sparked in me something that we had a cultural connection, how Black men specifically speak to each other, I felt like I was at the basketball court or something, he spoke my language, I said "What you mean, You ain't ready? Ready for what?" Then he knew the hook, he was also a Black man, and so there's a dynamic in which we can deal with this recruitment issue if you put the right people and we have to have non-traditional methods of engagement.
0:06:50.4 DB: We look at the ways in which we engage into social media through barber shops, through different settings, culturally relevant settings. And so, I think part of the problem, the challenge is, there is this cookie cutter definition of success and has all this atonal data behind it, and then there's the essence of what success truly means. And so how do we then create these environments that are filled with people that can reflect these people and not just recruit but retain them and then propel them to the next level. And so, are we equipped from the way that we dress, equipped with the way that we talk, the way that we engage. Coming out in this COVID era, there has been a push to be very innovative and creative. And innovation and creative, that's technology, but it's breaking traditional White supremacist of engaging and recruiting students. We know how Black males are working three or four jobs, we know how they look at education as a feminine domain, we know all the push backs, the self-efficacy the self-esteem that's been impacted by them, and so I think we have to really look at even this recruitment methods and however, we try to really regain the trust of our Black students by breaking down traditional norms in all of the variations.
0:08:09.2 MF: Thank you both. And there's a lot that you said there, but I wanna break down a little bit further. And I wanted to start off with how your team define success for Black males. What does that look like? What should that look like.
0:08:22.7 DB: Yeah, so there's a multi-faceted definition, so we do measure and track based on the traditional student outcome measures, persistence and retention, GPA, successful completion of English and Math within their first year graduation and transfer, but that's not enough. So we also define success around maintaining your identity, understanding and valuing your own cultural norms, rituals and ways of being, that success is defined by understanding that you are put in a position to help improve your family and community, that we are equipping you to be able to push towards liberation of freedom of black people, not only in this country, but abroad, that you're interconnected with folks throughout a larger diaspora, and so we define success, not just in terms of academic excellence, but also social, personal and even spiritual understanding and excellence.
0:09:31.7 DB: Because we understand that when we deal with Black people, that we need to see that whole person, and often times the disconnect within these institutions is that we only teach students at a certain dimension on a certain level at the surface, and when we interact with Black men that we see them first as spiritual beings, that we understand their historical context, we understand their struggle, but we also understand the assets and history of excellence that they bring to the table, and we speak to that, and so that allows us then to have extreme high level of expectations because we know their capacity and their potential to be excellent, and so we load up our definitions of success on them, "Yeah, you gotta be a great student, but you also gotta know the life story of Malcolm X. You also gotta know who Marcus Garvey, you gotta know who Ida B. Wells is, you gotta understand the definition of what it needs to be Pan-African", all that are our notions are success for us.
0:10:36.5 DB: And that their ancestors wildest dreams, that someone set the footwork for them to be where they are today, someone literally died for them to have the opportunity to read and write, literally, it was illegal for them to be literate, and that blood and those deaths are not in vain. And so, we're a consistent, production of that revolutionary struggle, and so for that you enter these spaces, which is a different level of energy, like success for us, it means instilling the African and African-American, not by just symbolism, but by actually being African and everything that embodies being African, the collective. Operating in unity. And so, I think we are because I am and I am because we are and we literally live that, and so part of it, as Dr. Bush mentioned is, once you start to establish that self-efficacy and self-actualization, and self-love, then you're able to even deal with rejection different, like success is important. You go to an interview, and you didn't get that job, "Well, I still know I got the juice 'cause I did the necessary work, where I still... I'm not gonna fall into deep depression or dislike who I am, or think things maybe I should compromise who I am to fit in", no, maybe the situation wasn't meant for you, so part of that is important for us to really insert success in that person who they are, so identity development piece is so essential.
0:12:06.7 DB: It helps with persistence, it helps with rejection, it helps with challenges, it help to take us into the next level. And the society that looks at that as cocky or bold, because there's a cycle analysis, and traumatic understanding of who you are when you are actually contending being who you are, we are there to help people insert into themselves, that you must love yourself and define yourself, and then you can project our success elsewhere. So for us, all that, the metrics are secondary. If you graduate, if you transfer, if you persist and you cannot engage your community, you cannot understand who you are as yourself. There is a missing anecdote there. So we're really focused on that piece. And that's why a lot of our efforts with our mentees, our study abroad trips, a lot of our retreats focus on that being piece.
0:13:06.0 DB: And I mean, that's being... I wanna come back around and piggyback on a couple powerful things that Dr. Buul have mentioned, one is in terms of it contextualizes their experience. And so part of success, and part of things we teach is putting them in position to give them the tools, to be able to critique systems and structures, because absent of that critique, they are going to, and many do internalize all of the negative stereotypes and labels that is projected on them, right? That all the things that we hear about what it is that they don't have, the communities that they come from, "broken families, not valuing education". No, that athlete are thug type of dynamic or phenomenon. And then we begin to allow others to define what it means to be Black and what it means to be a Black male. And so we try to allow them to regain agency most importantly, by creating a definition for themselves about who they are and who they're capable of being. And that's informed out of the excellence of who they are, as opposed to the deficit that society begins to project on the image of Black male for the time in which they have the ability to turn on the television.
0:14:35.3 MF: And I'm well aware that I'm talking with two Black male educators, right? And that representation is a key component, as you mentioned of that Black student success and supporting, and developing and helping them to affirm and see their identity. But we all know, on the line that there's a wide gap that exists between this faculty and staff demographics. So I would just love to have a sense too, because I know you do a broad brush of work, across your organization. I would love to know, and to talk a little bit more about those conditions, 'cause we're seeing a lot of folks who are leaving their teaching in faculty positions or have lost their jobs, during this pandemic. So what type of conditions are really needed to truly support Black faculty promotion, tenure in those workloads to ensure their wellness and ensure that they can show up and be there for our students?
0:15:23.6 DB: Yeah. We know that, you know, if you take a step back, any Black person in education is not, is working outside the job description, your auntie, your uncle, your cousin, your big bro, you're filling in some type of gap, and as soon as that Black student sees you, there's a certain connectivity there, that there are White counterparts, that they're non-Black counterparts. Don't truly experience. So the conditions that a lot of Black educators come in with is K through 12 or higher ed that's consistent throughout and we're filling some type of void. And part of the success is that family dynamic, right? That, that part of that, that cousin, that uncle, that love that we project onto our students to push them to the next level. Those are the conditions that we're seeing. A lot of it is what's also affecting us onliness. And onliness is, you know, as Dr. Harper mentioned this, that you're the only person there and you're also...
0:16:18.0 MF: Are we talking about Dr Shaun Harper?
0:16:19.7 DB: Yeah.
0:16:20.1 MF: All right.
0:16:20.1 DB: And so he mentions in his studies and research, as PhD students kinda goes that the only person in that space you're feeling that, and so then you're dealing with these microaggressions. And so one of the strategies I've seen that's come out, that's been very effective lately, is cluster hiring. The challenge that really pushed out to a lot of these institutions, especially those listening, is that there is no issue hiring eight nine White faculty in a row or eight, nine Black faculty in a row. But as soon as Black folks, the same again, thought of, "Oh, there's two, two is a game, they're colluding three is a game. Four is a mob, five, maybe a protester revolution". That mindset is still there. And so those are some of the conditions that we see in hiring practices, throughout the system, throughout the structures and say, "Okay, Hey, we already met our quota there", we're the only people that are still defined by those quotas, knowing that there is so much success and the data is... You can... Irrefutable data of how much it means for someone to look like he be in front of you and how much that means.
0:17:24.2 DB: Yet we continuously and consistently regress and refer and defer back to the status quo that we met up quota there. So you see a theater, professor hired, okay, we hired a two, three Black faculty we're done. We're done for the... We met a quota for the institution, right? Knowing that you would need to do a drastic overhaul change. So I think those are some of the conditions that faculty and staff, and educators are facing. And then that also trickles down to the students again. I'm not a capacity, you can't pour from a glass that's empty. So if I'm consistently constantly being attacked and microaggression space and trans racial battle fatigue syndrome, when do I even have the energy and the space to even love on my students? And if I do come, as they say, hurt people hurt people that trauma isn't transferred over. I just got outta a board meeting where I just got pummelled or I didn't get tenure. I got microaggression by my colleague or I'm trying to do something dynamic. And I come to my space and I don't have the energy. And so this is some of the thing that actually impacts women or folks that non-Black folks are dealing with. So this is some of the racialized traumas spaces that we have in education, the conditions, part of it is, interpersonal and personal, but a lot of it is structural and systemic. And that requires a complete overhaul.
0:18:48.0 DB: I agree. I mean, one of the, I'm gonna, and I think Dr. Buul covered it extremely well, I just wanna emphasized the microaggressions that exist, and what I hear from Black faculty that is something that they constantly have to navigate. And it's a microaggressions that exist because as Dr Buul mentioned being the only one in the department, usually the newest one hired. So they get the worst schedules to try to just navigate, trying to find their own voice at the same time, trying to make sure that no one could labor them as being something other than rigorous. And so you oftentimes, you'll see Black faculty try to overcompensate, just so they can gain the respect of their White counterparts, and cause them to exercise and act out in ways that's even counter to what's even in the best interest of Black students that they care so deeply about. But then also you have microaggressions for students that often when you see issues that happens within the classroom, often that is happening with non-Black students, challenging Black faculty members because they don't sign to selling level expertise. They do not get the same benefit of the doubt in their scholarship and the information that they're sharing constantly question. And so, many Black faculty are getting it in multiple directions in terms of this microaggression is make it very difficult for us to retain Black faculty in the academy.
0:20:28.2 DB: And I would really encourage the non-Black faculty that are listening to kind of understand the weight that a lot of Black faculty do carry, the responsibilities outside of our job description. And we don't get to clock in and clock outta the work sometimes. Like it follows us home, some of our students share with us some deep stuff that we have to go and resolve, all the social economic insecurities that exist. I recall one time in my earlier days that the students would just hang out in my office and sometimes students, 18, 19 they were ambitious and some of my colleagues would just be like, "Can y'all turn it down? Can y'all not hang out over here?" And the alternatives were what? To be on the block? The alternatives to be where? To be in the cafeteria? Right. And so, I'm like, They are hanging out in college, which is a dream for people. And you're here saying you're not welcome". We know those DEI training like inclusivity and diversity. And when it's in front of your face it's different.
0:21:39.6 DB: So I really encourage people to really lean into that discomfort of like, "What is it making me... " And I had a conversations of "What is it that's making you uncomfortable about this? Like, why just... Are they bothering you from your work? Are they impacting you?" "No, they're not". "Okay. So what is it?" So there's a discomfort there. So I really encourage folks to look at when we love on our students, it looks different, it looks different. And so just be comfortable being uncomfortable and checking some of your biases when it comes to that.
0:22:13.4 MF: I think you... Thank you both. I think the other part, right, as we're thinking about this folks are looking at the long game, right? How do we close these long-standing systemic gaps and for many folks... And let's be clear, many folks who don't have these identities, it's tough for them to figure out and to think about how and the impact and how to figure this out, not to say that that gets them away from doing the work, but there's also this paralysis that happens at times because of the uncomfortableness, right? Revealing what's... Or talking more about what's actually happening, what they're seeing, what's happening in their data and other things that they're revealing about, not only about their institutions, but truly about themselves. So I would love to hear a little bit more about event strategies and how you're thinking about ways to really reform our institutions at the core and de-centre that Whiteness, remove those harmful norms.
0:23:10.2 DB: Yeah. I think one, it starts right at the top. You have to have a strong commitment from college leadership to engage in this work. And one, you have to, you have to learn and be a student yourself. Secondly, you have to willing to exercise the level of courage, because anytime you have conversations around race, as Dr. Buul stated, folks are gonna get uncomfortable. And so you have to be willing to push through the discomfort and have really critical conversations in your institution around the data. That's... I think that's extremely important. And then you gonna have to invest. You will have to invest in a professional development by bringing in experts in this area. You have to invest in being able to make sure that you build institutional capacity by hiring people of color, the folks that have the expertise and then if you're not hiring people of color, it should be baseline competency that folks you hire in an institution have a track record of producing successful outcomes for students of color. And if they don't, then they are disqualified and incapable of teaching, serving, or leading in a diverse institution.
0:24:30.0 DB: Also, there needs to be some strict accountability around outcomes. For example, there hasn't been a college president or a vice president that I'm aware of that's ever been fired because they failed to close a gap in achievement, but they have been fired because of money mismanagement, for example, because that's what the institution values. And so, the institution has to begin to really value closing of the achievement gap beyond lip service. And that there's a cadence of accountability that's connected to it with that those you have targets and those targets are both in the aggregate and disaggregate, and it is trapped.
0:25:12.0 DB: And you report out that... Report out on that data and activities in trap strategies associated with that in an ongoing way. And then you also have to be very intentional. And so, if you're closing the gap, are you talking about equity? Are you talking about racial equity? If so, say that. If your college is struggling to meet the educational needs of Black students, then you would need to say that we're focusing our efforts and resources of making sure that we are in better position to be able to serve Black students. So many times we failed to try to call out the problem. We lack intentionality. Now think that is extremely crucial if we wanna move the needle on this work. I suggested one of the things that we do at my institution is that we look at... We interrogate all practices and policies, and we say that there's nothing in our institution that deserve our protection, as long as we see disparate outcomes within our student populations. And so we constantly have to evaluate and look at doing things fundamentally different and to be radical in our approach.
0:26:20.2 DB: And so you have to examine all your policies and practices, disaggregating at the course level and how faculty engage, why are certain students successful and why certain students is not. Do an audit of your curriculum to make sure that it is representative of the different contributions that folks of colour have made. So there's a... It's a complex and it's a lot. I think fundamentally you have to acknowledge that you have a problem but many institutions fail to acknowledge that. I say all the time that my institution is racist and it is racist because we can... It is, our outcomes are predictable based on students' race and ethnicity. And you have to own that unless you own that, then commit to doing the work to be more of an anti-racist or what we say, pro-Black or pro-Brown institutions.
0:27:16.9 DB: There's not much to say after that. But the funny thing is they say this in all these well seventh step program, the first step to recovery is what admission. So folks ain't admitting that they're racist. How can you move forward as Dr. Bush said, if you're not willing to diagnose and call out the problem. We do it everywhere else, right? "Hey, I'm such and such, and I'm an alcoholic. Hey, I'm such, and such. Hey, I'm such and such institution. We're a racist institution because we can determine by our race, how our students are gonna plan". And so I think, there's not much to be said after that, but just something that we can hopefully connect for the audience and how to truly move forward.
0:28:03.1 MF: Thank you both. And I love what you said too because I think there's some... There's this notion a lot of our colleges and universities are doing this anti-racist work. And I love what you said about the reality about being pro-Black, pro-Brown, pro, that student to make sure that they get that support versus trying to bat down that identity of what they are and what those institutions are. Go ahead, Dr. Bush.
0:28:29.6 DB: No. Absolutely. And we said it this way, right? So, how we distinguish pro-Black or pro-Brown institutions is that the college begins to centre the experience of their Black students by decentering Whiteness as the default way of doing business. And so when you think about just how our institutions function, there's a idea or myth around that. There are certain things we do that is race-neutral. How we construct buildings, how we allocate our resources. We think many of our process is absent of bias. But we have to understand that every decision that we make in our institution has racial implications. One of the things that Dr. Buul and I challenged administrators, is to think about and reflect on their last five decisions that they made and do a audit of those last five decisions. Whether they were very small, appear to be inconsequential decisions or very big, whatever is your last five look at that, and then ask yourself a series of questions, "Now who most benefited from that decision? Were there unattended consequences? Were there losers as a result of that? Did it maintain current practices or did it change and begin to think through new practices with the understanding that the status quo was unacceptable if you had an institution where there's a gap in achievement that exists".
0:30:01.9 DB: And so that's just a real practical tool to begin to think about the everyday things you do. So we use this example, like even how we design buildings, the default is if you go through a facilities master plan, you get with an architect, they talk about, we're gonna pull for some type of European, some type of Greek and some type of enrollment type of architecture motif. No one talks about west African, no one talks about Moore tradition, right? No one talks about south American, Mayan or Aztec. And we ask this powerful question. What if a Latinx student was going into a math building and that math building was designed as a Mayan temple, right? Which makes sense, knowing the history and traditions, dealing with math, with Mayan people, what would that do for the psyche of a Latinx student who's been told by society that math is difficult. That you're gonna struggle, that math is not your thing. But what happens is, and what we fail to realize is that White students are not successful simply because of racism, it's more convoluted than that. White students at our institutions are successful because White culture values are the norm, and it's a default way in which our system operates.
0:31:15.5 DB: So consciously and unconsciously, every experience that White students have validates who they are. Conversely, everything we do in our institutions signals to Black students that you don't belong here, in this physical representation, in its cultures and in its traditions, how we run convocation, how we run commitment to them going inside the classroom and not seeing curriculum that reflects who they are other the people teaching reflecting who they are.
0:31:50.0 DB: And this is very important in relation to success. Like the point of Dr. Bush has made like, when you talk about self-esteem self-efficacy, we, people are, oh, it's just symbol as what does that mean? No, it actually has an impact. So you cannot talk about the importance of representation and symbolism and reflection without having an inextricable connection to self-efficacy and self-esteem. So self-esteem is defined as a degree to which people feel as satisfied with themselves and feel valuable, worthy of respect. Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance payments. And so this reflects the confidence and they build the control one's emotion and their motivation, their behavior, looking at their social environment, as you know Dr. Bandura mentions. And we saw that, we saw that with...
0:32:45.2 DB: Anybody can be impacted by that, I'll give you an example, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt Chamberlain known for scoring 100 points. He had a career free throw percentage of 51%, his whole life. Shaq, Shaq miss one, make one. The year that he scored 100 points, the game that he scored 100 points, he shot 28 of 32 from the feed throw line, 87%, but he shot underhand and he was booed by the crowd.
0:33:10.8 DB: And he never shot that again. And he never scored 100 points again. And so my question to Dr. Bush's point is, if Wilt Chamberlain, giant of a man succumbed to the boos of the crowd, how often do we boo our students by the way we neglect them? And the symbolism he eloquently stated from the curriculum, from the buildings, from all these different aspects, right? From the decisions that we make. One last piece I'm gonna throw is accountability, is so critical here, because a lot of PD happens. They give you recommendations, the follow-up and follow through at a lot of these institutions, a lot of it is just checkbox. Okay, well, we hired a consultant where we know we went to this PD or we went to this woke conference and we feel like we're woke now and get emotionally charged and then there's a set of outcomes.
0:34:01.6 DB: And so when you mentioned, "How come we never seen anybody fired for the data that's so deplorable in the obligation gap?" Because that is obligation really. And that's why I'm kinda hesitant sometimes to say that these gaps, I don't really sometimes perceive them as gaps, my personal opinion. Nothing connect to any organization. I just think that this, the gap is part of the system and production, right? Maintain certain people at top, maintain certain people at bottom, and it's designed and structured that way. We looked at when integration happened. We integrated the curriculum, we integrated the students, we never integrated the faculty. We left all those Black teachers, all laid off, all thrown away. Never integrated the curriculum. And we see we're still living with the remnants of that from Brown versus Board. So I think this is a long deeper discussion but the gaps I think are necessary to maintain those structures. And we have to have a completely different analysis and understanding of what that gap is.
0:35:05.9 MF: As I'm hearing as this and I'm sure as our listeners are sitting with this as well, this normally with our Office Hours podcast, we usually have takeaways and recommendations, but truly with what Dr. Bush and Dr. Buul has shared with us, it is really about taking a step back and having a reflection on the type of work that you're doing as your institutions. And really, this is an invitation to go even further in that work to really truly support these students. And many of our other historically excluded minoritized student populations, our administrators of staff faculty and others. I wanna thank Dr. Buul and Dr. Bush for their time today. And I do wanna leave to say if there's any final words that you wanna share with us before we get off the line.
0:35:50.3 DB: No Meacie, I just appreciate the opportunity, to share on the work that is taking place, be able to share our perspective. You wanna hear more about the work that AMEND is doing, encourage your listeners to go to our website, www.a2M-E-N-D.org, there's a lot of rich information, our contact information is on that website. So just encourage your listeners to do that.
0:36:21.2 DB: And I would just echo one piece that you mentioned earlier, and that's just to reflect on yourself as an individual, as an educator. Are you complicit in maintaining these structures and these systems? And if so, what are you going to reconcile that? How can you become an advocate? How can you become an agent of change? How can you activate your agency? Part of just having that deep reflection, introspection that we asked our students to consistently do in journal writings and reflections. And like, "Was there a piece where you self-evaluating? Or just because you're in the system you made it, you're here to maintain it?" So part of it, I wanna really push folks to decolonize their mindsets, de-centre Whiteness, really look at the students that are in front of you. Ask who's missing. "What can I do? How can I be of service to that." And understanding we are here to act ultimately, liberate the minds of our students.
0:37:22.3 DB: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can change the world" as Nelson Mandela says. And so weapons are only used at war. We are at war here, we're at war on a lot of ideas and thoughts. And so we're at battle mode. And so pick up your spear, and your book, your pen, and let's get to work. We got some heavy lifting to do. We definitely appreciate you inviting us, and we highly encourage y'all if y'all could join us for All African Education Summit happening in Ghana, this September we're taking a worldwide. This educational fight it's something that's global. And so we're tapping in encouraging all Africans to really come up to that conference in Ghana. And there's also information on our website. And join us every March, for the annual convention on our website. Thank you again for having us.
0:38:14.7 MF: Thank you both, and thank you all for our listeners for joining Office Hours with EAB again. All of that information will be listed on eab.com, and thank you for joining.
0:38:30.5 MF: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week when we share advice from an executive search professional, on how to attract and retain university staff during one of the most challenging labor markets most institutions have ever seen. Until then, thank you for your time.
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