Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

June 5, 2020

First-Year Writing Program, Department of English, The University of Connecticut 

Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

The First-Year Writing program in the Department of English at the University of Connecticut affirms the Department of English’s statement in support of recent protests against police brutality, systemic racism, and anti-Black violence.a)

We acknowledge the long history of and continuing violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, most recently the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. We acknowledge, as well, the long history of both named and unnamed victims of racism in the United States.

We recognize that writing program instruction and writing program administration are disproportionately white. Recent scholarship in Writing Studies/Rhetoric/Composition has drawn attention to the lack of antiracist practices in writing classrooms and in writing program administration, to the detriment of students and instructors (see García de Müeller and Ruiz, 2015). As a group of Writing Program Administrators (both graduate and faculty) who are white, we recognize that we are in a privileged position and cannot represent those who have been shut out of positions of power like ours and whose voices have been silenced by racism in our institutions. We are committed to dismantling anti-racist practices in our classrooms and our program.

However, rather than taking over the conversation, we would like to hear from you. We invite you to contribute to this shared document. We want to avoid speaking about, and instead create a space in which we can speak together. We envision this document as an evolving set of practices for an anti-racist classroom. Please add your suggestions for how First-Year Writing can support you or work with you to support and foster antiracist teaching and administrative practices during the coming academic year.

We have compiled a list of resources below on writing instruction and racial justice — all of which are available for free online — and we strongly encourage you to review them as a first step toward developing and sustaining anti-racist classroom practices.

In solidarity,

Brenda Brueggemann & Lisa Blansett,
Co-Directors, First-Year Writing Program, Department of English

Réme Bohlin, Alex Gatten, Psyche Z. Ready, Kathryn Warrender-Hill
Assistant Directors and graduate students in Writing Studies and the FYW Program


Banks, Adam.​ ​“2015 CCCC Chair’s Address: Ain’t No Walls behind the Sky, Baby! Funk, Flight, Freedom.”College Composition and Communication,Vol. 67, No. 2, 2015, pp. 267-279 (Video on Youtube.)

CCCC.​ ​“Students’ Right to Their Own Language.”College English,​ ​Vol. 36, No. 6, 1975, pp. 709-726

CCCC. “CCCC Guideline on the National Language Policy.” Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), March 1988, Updated 1992, Revised March 2015.

CCCC. “CCCC Statement on Ebonics.” Conference on College Composition and Communication (May 1998, revised May 2016).

Cedillo, Christina. “What Does It Mean to Move?: Race, Disability, and Critical Embodiment Pedagogy,”Composition Forum,49, 2018.

Condon, Frankie, and Vershawn Ashanti Young, editors. Performing Antiracist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication.Fort Collins, CO, WAC Clearinghouse, 2017.

García de Müeller, Genevieve and Iris Ruiz.​ ​“Race, Silence, and Writing Program Administration: A Qualitative Study of US College Writing Programs.”Writing Program Administration-Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, Vol. 40, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 19-39.

Inoue, Asao B.​ ​Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future.Fort Collins, CO, The WAC Clearinghouse, 2015.

Inoue, Asao B. “Classroom Writing Assessment as an Antiracist Practice: Confronting White Supremacy in the Judgments of Language.”Pedagogy, vol. 19, issue 3, 2019.

Inoue, Asao B. “2019 Chair’s Address: How Do We Language So People Stop Killing Each Other, Or What Do We Do About White Language Supremacy?” College Composition and Communication, 71(2), 352-369. (Video on Youtube.)

Kendi, Ibram X.​ ​An Anti-Racist Reading List.
Poe, Mya, Asao B. Inoue, and Norbert Elliot, editors. Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and

the Advancement of Opportunity.Fort Collins, CO, WAC Clearinghouse, 2018. Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources