Fall 2021      Volume 49, Number 4

A Warm wELLcome for Language Learners: Black Lives Matter in Teaching English as a Second Language!
By Kristin Lems

Document: Column 

Introductory Paragraph:  Every aspect of life in the United States has been shaken by the upsurge of the “Movement for Black Lives.” As we become more exposed to obvious injustice, and primary sources become more widely available, Americans have been forced to confront the realities of a society built on European-white supremacy—from the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of African people brought in chains to work for free, to the crippling conditions of the Jim Crow era, to violent policing and an unfair criminal justice system which continue to this day, all creating a legacy of trauma for Americans of African descent (Wilkerson, 2020).  How does this legacy and climate affect English language learners (ELLs) of African descent? I will touch upon three aspects: (1) the unique experience of ELLs of African descent in English as a second language (ESL) or bilingual education programs; (2) the low representation of black ESL and bilingual teachers and weak responses by TESOL professional organizations to doing something about it; and (3) the low enrollment of students of African descent in dual language programs. I will give a brief overview of the problems and then suggest some ways that English language educators and teachers in general can make real progress toward equity for students of African descent. I apologize in advance for the brief and superficial nature of the column, which touches only glancingly on so many deep and nuanced topics. I can only hope this column will open up some good conversations as the articles and columns in this journal so often do.

DOI:    https://doi.org/10.33600/IRCJ.49.4.2021.71

Page Numbers:   71-78

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