In a recent keynote address I was privileged to deliver, I reminded that without an overt, collaborative, aggressive, and fully transparent focus on equity and social justice, we do not, in fact, have a dual language program. For you see, ensuring that a student we serve leaves our dual language program fully bilingual, biliterate, and achieving at grade level in both program languages, is only a part of the job. If a student is ill prepared to defend the rights of all, challenge systems that oppress some, and seek to create access for every single person they encounter, then, we, as dual language educators, have failed.
The following are some of the things that have been seen on the news recently. They impact us directly because sociocultural competence, one of the three goals of dual language, must be the foundation of all that we do in the dual language classroom.
I challenge you to reflect about each situation and deeply consider how it impacts your job as a dual language educator. Please know that I too, am going through this same reflection process. And, it is hard work. It is sometimes exhausting work. But, I also believe and understand that through dual language, we can begin to positively impact the world we live in.
July 2018 in California:
"Go back to your own country. Go back to México."
These are the words that Laquisha Jones stated as she began to viciously beat Rodolfo Rodríguez, a Mexican man in his nineties, with a cement brick.
June 2018 in Washington, DC:
"If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We've got to get this message out. You're not given immunity."
These are the words delivered by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a way to defend the separation of thousands of children, some less than a year old, from their families, as immigrants from Latin America sought refuge in the United States.