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Published February 15, 2022


UB to hold critical race theory panel discussion

What is critical race theory, and why has it sparked debates across the nation?

The University at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education and School of Law will hold a virtual panel to clarify the conversation about the nature and history of race and racism in our nation and concerns about state legislation throughout the U.S. focused on critical race theory in education.

The virtual 90-minute panel, "Critical Race Theory: Clarifying the Conversation," will start at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 25.

The panel of critical race theory scholars and practitioners includes: 

  • Gwendolyn Baxley, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy
  • LaGarrett King, associate professor of learning and instruction and director of UB's Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education
  • Athena D. Mutua, professor of law and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar
  • Tolulope F. Odunsi, lecturer in law
  • Anthony L. White II, PS #31 Harriet Ross Tubman School social studies teacher, GSE instructor of learning and instruction, and curriculum, instruction and the science of learning doctoral student

The event will be moderated by Julie Gorlewski, professor and chair of the Department of Learning and Instruction. 

The panel will help attendees gain a deeper understanding of critical race theory's true meaning and history. "The real goal of this event is to help people understand that race and racism do impact society, education, and policies and procedures," said Raechele Pope, senior associate dean for faculty and student affairs and chief diversity officer at GSE. "And, mostly, the reason we're doing this is because there's so much misunderstanding about what critical race theory is, and there's so much information that is purposefully designed to make people afraid to discuss this issue and disrupt inclusive teaching."

This event builds on GSE and the School of Law's efforts to create opportunities to discuss and learn about the relationship between racial injustice and education. Past events include the "GSE Make Good Trouble Now: Teach-In for Racial Equity" in Sept. 2020, the "GSE Creating the Beloved Community" virtual symposium in March 2021, and the Law School's Pathways to Equity in Legal Education and the Profession in April 2021.

The GSE standing committee for Equity, Diversity, Justice and Inclusion (EDJI) organized this program to provide context for the challenges we are currently facing related to critical race theory and offer guidance for teaching and learning about race and racism in K-12 schools. The EDJI committee, chaired by Pope, is comprised of faculty, staff and students. The committee is responsible for developing programs, policies and initiatives to educate the community, identify and address structural inequities, and strengthen community and climate.

"If you think you know a lot about critical race theory, then come and join in the conversation. If you think you don't know a lot about it, come and learn. And, if you think you disagree with critical race theory, come, listen and raise your questions or your objections and we can have a discussion. That's what education is about," said Pope.

The event is free and open to the public.

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