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RELI Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Social Justice

Dear Rutgers Students, Staff, and Faculty,

As a program dedicated to creating inclusive, transformative, and culturally responsive curriculum and programming at Rutgers University, Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI) stands in solidarity with the black community and the Black Lives Matters movement, and vehemently condemns the perpetuation of the systemic racism, oppression, and injustice that led to the brutal murder of George Floyd.  RELI is founded on a mission of social justice and we are committed to amplifying the voices of the diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds of our community.  RELI asserts unwavering commitment to addressing social injustice on a local and global level, with a translingual curriculum centered on critical cultural awareness.  Within the University, RELI provides resources for inclusive teaching practices and creates awareness of implicit biases in the classroom and ways to address and transform them. RELI is an inclusive community and safe space for ALL Rutgers students, faculty, and staff not only in name, but in action, and in every interaction. 

RELI fully acknowledges that an apolitical classroom does not exist, and that it is not whether or not you make a statement on inclusion and community, it is a question of what type of statement you make.  We are committed to creating and continuing difficult, yet necessary conversations in order to effect change. To this end, we share the following initiatives that reflect our mission:

  • Continued development of courses such as “Exploring American Identities,” “Writing Across Cultures,” and co-curricular workshops on “Inclusive Teaching” and Educational Diversity Around the World,” that provide opportunities for discussion on critical social and cultural awareness across ALL student populations at Rutgers
  • Leading and sustaining conversations on language rights as human rights including the “Difficult Dialogues” series co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR) and RELI-led “Addressing Implicit Bias and Accented Speech: Creating a Linguistically Diverse and Inclusive Classroom.”
  • Increasing the awareness of linguistic diversity at Rutgers University through student projects to be featured on an interactive website, “The Linguistic Landscape of Rutgers,” created in partnership with the Language Engagement Project
  • Providing guidance and resources on inclusive and translingual pedagogy. Download Faculty Guide

Details on these and other initiatives will be announced on our website, https://reli.rutgers.edu. This list is representative of only a fraction of the work that must be done to address pervasive inequities in our institution and in our society, but we are honored to tirelessly persevere in these efforts with our partners for social justice at Rutgers University.

In Solidarity and Community,

RELI Leadership

Nicole M Houser, Ph.D., Director, Rutgers English Language Institute
Nela N. Navarro, Director, EAD Program, Rutgers English Language Institute, Associate Director & Director of Education, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights
Mark J. Keitges, Ph.D., Director, Graduate English Language Learners Program