The BAY AREA WRITING PROJECT, based at the University of California, Berkeley, is an organization of, by, and for teachers of writing at all grade levels and in all disciplines, dedicated to improving the teaching and uses of writing through a variety of programs–both on the university campus and in the schools of the Bay Area.
California Writing Project’s statement in response to police brutality:
We, the directors of the 15 California Writing Project sites, stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We are saddened and horrified by the murders of the past few weeks—the latest manifestation of the racism that began 400 years ago with the colonizing of what is now the United States.
The CWP is a community of educators dedicated to collaborating with teachers K-University to improve student writing. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the power of words, in speech and in writing, as an energy that can transform individual lives and break down oppressive systems. We are encouraged by this time of collective raised awareness, and by the growing number of people who have found the words that capture meaning for themselves and for others.
The moment has given us pause to reflect on our work. We have not been explicit enough in communicating our vision of the future– a world where all students have the capacity to write powerfully towards the purposes they most care about. As teachers, we work within a system that continually perpetuates inequities. We seek to be a partner in the humanizing revolution that abolishes these injustices, making use of our positions and the particular power each of us has. This revolution must include all of us, of all ethnicities and races, working alongside those who have borne the brunt of our country’s most racist beliefs and systems.
While a social justice stance has been the backdrop of our work these past 40 years, we pledge to intensify our efforts. We will dedicate ourselves to nurturing a community that comes together through writing and teaching to address anti-Blackness and other forms of racism in our society and our schools.
We will encourage students, teachers, and organizations to use the written word to elevate the voices of those repeatedly marginalized and threatened. The ability to respond to the world with the written word is one of the greatest tools we can offer. We will use this tool to disrupt the status quo, to shed light on injustices and effect change.
Further, we commit to creating safe spaces for teachers to listen loudly and engage in difficult conversations about matters of race, to sitting with the discomfort that allows self-examination and growth.
We must all break the silence.
In solidarity, California Writing Project Directors –