Position Statement Against Anti-Asian Rhetoric and Speech

The Diversity, Equity, and Justice (DEJ) and the Ethnicity, Race, and Multilingualism(ERM) Standing Committees of the Literacy Research Association (LRA) are committed to racial justice, equity, and action. The purpose of this statement is to reaffirm the organization’s position against all forms of systemic racism. We raise awareness of racial injustices within our respective field and provide action steps on how the LRA community can take actions for change.

In the past three years, there has been a resurgence of racist acts against underrepresented groups. Specifically, there has been a backlash and targeting of Asians and Asian Americans within the United States. These violent sentiments once led to explicitly racist government policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans.

These unequal treatments include but are not limited to the brutal attacks against countless Asian and Asian American individuals, the xenophobic violence against Asian people in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dehumanizing acts of Anti-Asian rhetoric within the sector of academia and beyond.

The committee stands in solidarity with our Asian colleagues, faculty, staff, and students who were impacted by the commentary of the Chancellor Thomas L. Keon of Purdue University Northwest. The Literacy Research Association Board of Directors recognizes the comments made by Chancellor Keon at graduation were harmful and there is no sufficient explanation or response regarding this incident. It is of grave importance to understand why a Chancellor creating a made-up Asian language at a graduation ceremony is not only in poor taste but a sign of a hostile and discriminatory environment at the university. Graduations at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI’s) have been in the headlines for many decades within the United States where students of color have been thrown off stages and protests have occurred. This racist rhetoric has often been excused as merely ‘bad moments.’ As we consider the incident which occurred at Purdue University Northwest, we must understand why change is needed at all levels. No longer should we merely require students to sit through equity courses. Equity must be enacted by the administration, faculty, and staff. Considering that the Indiana House of Representatives passed HB 1134 to limit classroom discussions pertaining to race during 2022 (that was later defeated by the Senate) and that components of it could be revisited by a future legislative conference committee, Chancellor Keon’s mocking of Asian language(s) conveys that equity training is not only a necessity, it is urgently needed. This is but one in a litany of harmful incidents that incite violence, hatred, and disdain towards individuals of Asian descent.

Our literacy organization and literacy learning communities at universities should focus on studying the literacy experiences, language learning, and multilingualism of Asian and Pacific Islander countries and communities. First, developing these partnerships and experiences are key to diminishing historical and pervasive stereotypes within literacy, literature, and academic research. Second, literacy organizations at the national and state level must examine whether preservice and in-service teachers are acquiring updated research and inclusive literacy practices regarding Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander students. Third, our national and state educational research and practice organizations should prominently feature research and speakers who can address the impact of racism because institutional norms, explicit acts, and implicit bias often fuel anti-Asian violence within education and other settings. Finally, teacher educators should include historical and contemporary readings in their current courses and curricula to specifically include the voices of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander scholars.

Organizational actions to combat systemic racism can include creating an environment for educational research and learning. This will promote further academic study regarding the varied experiences of diverse populations in literacy and learning, as well as the identification of actionable steps needed for racial equity and justice. We must take such actions now in order to improve outcomes for those who are historically marginalized and targeted.


2020-2021 National Report – Stop AAPI Hate

Japanese Internment Camps: WWII, Life & Conditions – HISTORY

“I Have a Wish”: Anti-Asian Racism and Facing Challenges Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Asian International Graduate Students – Fanghong Dong, Yeji Hwang, Nancy A. Hodgson, 2023 (sagepub.com)

The long history of racism against Asian Americans in the U.S. | PBS NewsHour

Violence Against International Students: A Critical Gap in the Literature (sagepub.com)

2022 Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee Travel Award Winner – Phylicia Anderson

The Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee (ERM) is committed to supporting and promoting the work of scholars from diverse backgrounds. This year, the ERM awarded four doctoral student or early career scholars of color the ERM Travel Award.


Read more about one of our award winners below. 

Phyliciá Anderson is a doctoral candidate, adjunct professor, and in the first cohort of the AACTE Holmes Scholars program at Texas Woman’s University to support women of color in pursuing higher education.  Her latest publications include a chapter in the book “Engage and Empower: Expanding the Curriculum for Justice and Activism” titled “Cultural (mis)representations in the media: Challenging hegemonic ideas,” a journal article published in the Journal of Language and Literacy Education titled “Language, literacy, and love: A critical framework for teaching adolescent emergent bilinguals,” and a chapter in the book “Leveraging Languages, Literacies, and Cultures: Innovative Approaches for Teaching Multilingual Students” titled “BookSnaps: Reading and analyzing young adult novels across languages.” which is scheduled to be released December 2022.


She has also presented at national and international conferences including the bi-annual European Conference on Literacy in Dublin, Ireland, the Puerto Rico Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the World Education Research Association annual conference in Galicia, Spain, and the American Educational Research Association annual conference in San Diego, California.

Phyliciá’s research explores the ways in which multilingual adolescents use and understand language. She positions criticality in education to counter the hegemonic ideas often perpetuated through traditional, monolingual forms of education. Her recent project investigated the instructional implications of bi/multilingual adolescence reading and writing using another language in a classroom setting which included Spanish, Italian, French, and Black language to name a few. Through this and other research projects she contributes to the dialogue around ethnicity, race, and multilingualism by offering various perspectives of what it means to be bi/multilingual and how these abilities can be leveraged in pedagogical practices.

2022 Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee Travel Award Winner – Mariana Lima Becker

The Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee (ERM) is committed to supporting and promoting the work of scholars from diverse backgrounds. This year, the ERM awarded four doctoral student or early career scholars of color the ERM Travel Award.


Read more about one of our award winners below. 

Mariana Lima Becker is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Before starting her doctoral studies, Mariana was an English as a Foreign Language teacher at schools and several language institutes in her hometown of Recife, Brazil. She is also a licensed English as a Second Language teacher in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.


Her research explores the intersection of bilingual education for language-minoritized students, language and literacy studies, and im/migration. Co-advised by Dr. Jon M. Wargo (Boston College) and Dr. Gabrielle Oliveira (Harvard University), her dissertation examines the experiences of education and literacy practices of Brazilian immigrant children across their homes and classrooms in a dual language bilingual education program (Portuguese-English) in Massachusetts. She is a 2022 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow and has published research reports in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Early Childhood LiteracyChildhood, and the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Mariana’s research critically considers how U.S. public schools respond to increased waves of migrants from non-dominant cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In a recent research project, for example, she explored how young children of Brazilian descent constructed ideas about and avenues of belonging in their K-1 U.S. bilingual classrooms through their language and literacy practices. Additionally, Mariana’s scholarship approaches how transnational communication has been leveraged by im/migrant children and their families to create spaces for the maintenance of kinship ties, affinity, and collaboration, affording key opportunities for language and literacy learning. Mariana’s scholarly work contributes to current dialogues around ethnicity, race, and multilingualism by assembling holistic portraits and understandings of immigrant childhoods as well as the educational trajectories of Portuguese-speaking Latinx populations. Her scholarship also offers insights into how pre-service and in-service educators can prepare to meet not only the academic needs of culturally and linguistically diverse children but also promote well-being, critical consciousness, and robust bi/multilingual identities.


A pesquisa de Mariana considera criticamente como as escolas públicas dos EUA respondem ao influxo de populações migrantes advindas de contextos culturais e linguísticos não-dominantes. Em um projeto de pesquisa recente, por exemplo, ela explorou como um grupo de crianças de ascendência brasileira construíram ideias e formas de pertencimento em suas salas de aula (alfabetização e primeiro ano do ensino fundamental) nos Estados Unidos por meio de suas práticas de linguagem e letramento. Além disso, Mariana aborda como a comunicação transnacional tem sido utilizada por crianças imigrantes e suas famílias para criar espaços para a manutenção de laços familiares, afinidade e colaboração, proporcionando oportunidades importantes para o aprendizado de língua(s) e letramento(s). O trabalho acadêmico de Mariana contribui para os diálogos atuais sobre etnia, raça e multilinguismo por gerar  retratos holísticos das infâncias imigrantes, bem como das trajetórias educacionais de populações latinas de língua portuguesa. Sua pesquisa também oferece insights sobre como educadores podem se preparar para atender não apenas às necessidades acadêmicas de crianças imigrantes, mas também promover seu bem-estar, consciência crítica e identidades bi/multilíngues robustas.


Cover Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

2022 Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee Travel Award Winner – Chaehyun Lee

The Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee (ERM) is committed to supporting and promoting the work of scholars from diverse backgrounds. This year, the ERM awarded four doctoral student or early career scholars of color the ERM Travel Award.


Read more about one of our award winners below. 

Dr. Chaehyun Lee is Assistant Professor in Elementary and ESL/Bilingual Education in Educational Instruction and Leadership at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Elementary Literacy and Bilingual Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  


She teaches undergraduate courses on teaching reading and writing, language arts, and social studies for elementary/middle-school pre-service teachers. She teaches graduate courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Education for in-service teachers working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Dr. Lee also works with emergent bilingual students as a Korean heritage language teacher at a local elementary Korean language school.  Her research interests include bilingualism, biliteracy development, heritage language learning, multicultural education, and teacher education.

Dr. Lee’s research advances the field of multilingual/multicultural education. Dr. Lee’s recent study demonstrated how multilingual and transnational individuals build, construct, and negotiate their hybrid, sophisticated, and multifaceted social and cultural identities through translanguaging and translingual practices as they reflect their funds of knowledge, ideologies, and social/cultural practices. Her work assists teachers in culturally and linguistically diverse classroom settings to value the presence of students’ culture and language abilities and to enhance their educational experiences.  Her overall research supports educators becoming well-versed and trained in inspiring multilingual students to reflect on their unique life experiences and multiple identity construction through transnational positioning and translingual writing.  Her findings further provide teaching implications for transnational families to better support their children’s language learning, literacy development, and multifarious identity construction.


이교수의 연구는 다언어 및 다문화 교육 발전에 이바지 하고 있다.  이교수의 최근 연구는 다언어를 사용하는 학생들의 탈언어 사용 및 연습을 통하여 어떻게 학생들이 자신의 복합적이고 다면적인 정체성을 형성하고 타협하는지를 보여주었다. 연구 결과는 문화적으로 언어적으로 다양한 교실에서 학생들을 가르치는 교사들에게, 학생들의 언어와 문화의 다양성을 존중하고 그들의 포괄적인 경험을 포용할 것을 권장 한다.  이교수의 전반적인 연구는 학생들의 복합적이고 다면적이지만, 특별하고 고유의 정체성 형성과 문식성 발달을 위하여 숙련된 교사들의 필요성과 가족들의 지지의 중요성을 시사한다.


Cover Photo by John Schaidler on Unsplash

2022 Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee Travel Award Winner – Andrew del Calvo

The Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Committee (ERM) is committed to supporting and promoting the work of scholars from diverse backgrounds. This year, the ERM awarded four doctoral student or early career scholars of color the ERM Travel Award.


Read more about one of our award winners below. 

Andrew del Calvo is a third-year Ph.D student in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and a National Board Certified Social Studies Teacher. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws from history education, literacy studies, sociolinguistics, and critical social justice studies in education, Andrew’s work seeks to create a bridge between historical thinking and students’ lived experiences and identities, through curriculum design and teacher education.


Andrew’s current projects include developing dialogic reading and writing interventions for history specific writing conferences, designing professional development to support teachers in enacting culturally sustaining pedagogies around historical writing instruction, and designing and enacting a model for teacher education that centers high school student voices.


Previously, Andrew was a ninth and tenth grade social studies teacher and department chair at Harvest Collegiate High School, a public high school in Lower Manhattan. Prior to this he taught history, civics and economics in the Bronx. He has also served as an adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York, and led professional development in the New York metro area and nationally.

The two projects that I presented at LRA speak to the ways that my work challenges normative discourses around writing instruction in social studies classrooms, and teacher education. In my in-process practitioner research study, my co-researcher and I explore the ways in which “language policing” –  when the pre-service teachers (PSTs) that we work with understand their job to be upholding normative racialized language practices – infiltrates how they conceptualize and teach writing to students. While many PSTs want to attend to race, identity, and power in their teaching, they often struggle to see the ways that what Baker-Bell calls, “white language supremacy,” functions in their student teaching placements. Drawing from Patel’s work around “pausing,” we had teachers critically reflect on the theories of language that guided the instructional choices they made around the teaching of writing, finding that this form of anticolonial reflection can destabilize PSTs’ internalized ideologies connected to language policing, and promote more critical awareness of language.


My work with another collaborator illustrates how high school students can give feedback to PSTs’ on their facilitation of social studies discussions. Using critical discourse analysis, we explore the qualities and social languages in their feedback, surfacing the ways in which it is qualitatively different from feedback PSTs would traditionally receive from teacher educators, instructional coaches, or classroom mentors. In short, a large part of my work centers on bringing a critical perspective on language to both social studies education and teacher education, to highlight the power of student voice.