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WSSU, N.C. A&T discuss the implications of racial trauma on educator preparation during joint town hall

Winston-Salem State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University education departments held a joint virtual town hall meeting to discuss the implication of racial trauma on educator preparation on Oct. 27.

The virtual discussion centered around systemic racism and oppression in communities and public schools.

“As historically Black colleges and universities, we sought to offer expertise in the prevalent issues around racial trauma and its implication on education and educator preparation, and to also offer viable strategies in addressing racial trauma and oppression in the field of education and educator preparation from a P-12, higher education, community, and policy lens,” says Nakeshia Williams, associate professor and undergraduate elementary education program coordinator at North Carolina A&T and town hall coordinator.

The town hall provided a safe space for educators and the community to voice, hear, and learn about strategies aimed to promote anti-racism in teaching and learning environments.  Anthony Graham, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at WSSU, says that he is always in the space of good trouble when he thinks about advocacy and action when ensuring that WSSU is meeting the needs of their diverse student population.

“I’m always very focused on issues of equity, inclusion, access, advocacy and opportunity,” says Graham. “In my role, student success is critically important. It requires that we not think about students in a monolithic way. All students don’t come from the same places, they don’t feel the same things and experience the same things. So, we have to think about how we address and engage students where they are.”

Graham says that he often calls out things that he sees … “all while striving for systemic transformation, not reformation." He believes that there’s a need to transcend current systems and create new ones.

“The reality for us ... is that white supremacy is throughout all of our systems and structures, and the only way that we are really going to be able to address our systems of equity and access and opportunity, particularly for our black and brown children and communities, is to really dismantle a number of those systems and really work through communities to create things anew," says Paula Groves Price, dean of the College of Education at A&T. “I think part of our issue is that we’ve been caught in these systems so long … that it is hard for us to imagine what liberatory education would look like.”

The virtual panel included educators and educator preparators from around North Carolina, including:

  • James Ford, moderator, executive director for Center for Racial Equity in Education; and North Carolina Board of Education member
  • Sharon Contreras, superintendent, Guilford County Schools
  • Paula Groves Price, dean, College of Education at A&T
  • Anthony Graham, provost, WSSU; co-chair of DRIVE Task Force
  • LaTanya Pattillos, teacher advisor to the Governor's Office; co-chair of DRIVE Task Force

See the entire "Good Trouble, The Implications of Racial Trauma" town hall meeting

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

About North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University
Established in 1891 as a land-grant institution, North Carolina A&T is America’s largest and top-rated historically black university (by Money magazine, “Best Colleges”), as well as its top-rated public historically black university (U.S. News & World Report, “Best Colleges 2021”). Serving a student body of nearly 13,000 in Greensboro, N.C., it presences include a main campus, a 500-acre university farm and operations at the Gateway Research Park and in the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. It is America’s top producer of African American engineers, agricultural scientists and recreational studies graduates, as well as math degree earners at the master’s level.

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