Breaking News: THe NEW UK and NAACP Education and Civil Rights Initiative

This is a blog I’ve been looking forward to writing for more than a year.

I can finally share with you that the College of Education has entered into a groundbreaking, history-making collaboration with the NAACP, the nation’s largest and most preeminent civil rights organization.

Housed in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, this education and research initiative will focus on educational equity, civil rights and social justice. As NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson pointed out, this is the first time the NAACP has partnered with university-based scholars in the education field to help address the racial inequities that continue to plague our education system.

Since the summer of 2019, we have turned ideas into action, laying the foundation for this work.  We welcomed Gregory Vincent, an acclaimed civil rights attorney and university professor, as director of this initiative; Sarah LaCour, arriving from the University of Colorado Boulder to serve as an assistant director; Mariama Lockington, a celebrated author and voice for equity and inclusion, who will help support the work of the initiative; and Cheryl Matias, a nationally-recognized scholar who studies culturally responsive education practices, who will contribute to the initiative as well as serve as a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. They are among a number of new faces who will add to the breadth of expertise and energy in the College of Education

But it doesn’t stop there.

Danelle Stevens-Watkins, who is also director of graduate studies in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, has been named Assistant Vice President for Research in Diversity and Inclusion. She has agreed to chair the UNITed in racial Equity (UNITE) research priority area.

And today, UK President Eli Capilouto announced that senior administrators will undergo anti-racist training as a first step in UK’s campus-wide initiative to change our culture as a community united against systemic racism. The training will be led by Candice Hargons, Ph.D., an assistant professor in theDepartment of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. Hargons is a counseling psychologist with a national reputation in the field of anti-racism training.

The world is taking notice. We’re hearing from news media and colleagues from far and wide. One example is the Washington Post article from Thursday, Aug. 6.

You can read more about our work at the links below:

There is much more work to do, and no doubt, there will be more challenges ahead, but I am convinced that we will refuse to allow adversity to stop us from pressing forward and making an unmistakable and lasting impact.

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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