Update from the AAAL Executive Committee

All News Items,
Building art near Lake and Hennepin in Minneapolis, photo by Lucia Heathcote

Building art near Lake and Hennepin in Minneapolis, photo by Lucia Heathcote

Like much of the world, we are heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd. His tragic death further exposed the deep and systemic racism that has gone unaddressed for far too long. While institutionalized violence and anti-blackness are deeply woven into U.S. society (and many other regions of the world), the last two weeks have brought these long-standing inequalities into even sharper relief. 

For many AAAL members, these events have been cause for reflection, and for renewed commitment to do and support work that contributes to greater social justice, anti-racism, and equity. One way we can contribute to addressing injustices is by listening, learning, supporting, and advocating for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color who continue to experience the damaging effects of historical trauma, oppression, and systemic racism and its consequences for educational, health, economic and other outcomes. 

Many of us are deeply committed to using our skills as scholars, researchers and teachers to that end. AAAL stands with our TESOL and ACTFL colleagues in our shared commitment to denouncing systematic racism and dismantling oppressive systems of injustice. This year we will also revisit AAAL standing rules, which currently prevent us from responding quickly and directly with public position statements.

We are aware that words alone are insufficient; much more work needs to be done to combat racism and injustice in all of its forms. Our upcoming AAALetter details some of the ongoing work to that end, including a special webinar hosted by our Public Affairs and Engagement Committee (PAEC) on race and engagement in the field of applied linguistics.

As we move forward, I welcome and value your suggestions on additional ways our association can have an impact on combating racism and promoting greater equity and inclusion.

Thank you.
Kendall King, AAAL President, on behalf of AAAL’s Executive Committee (Patricia Duff, Lourdes Ortega, Laura Collins, Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, Glenn Martinez, Charlene Polio, Christina Higgins, and Jennifer Leeman)