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Our Commitment to Social justice Pedagogies

Our Commitment to Social Justice and Decolonial Pedagogies to Intersectional Black feminist and decolonial pedagogies are the foundation of our efforts to increase higher education coursework for incarcerated individuals and create pathways to degree attainment for justice impacted individuals.

OPEEP also centers the power of collaborative education by decentering traditional hierarchies of expert/student and by situating education spaces outside the boundaries of the academic campus. We believe that building and sharing knowledge should be a collaboration between teachers, students, and communities that raises the voices and ideas of traditionally marginalized people. We welcome and elevate marginalized standpoints, and counteract hierarchies of white supremacy, colonialism, and heteropatriarchy through collective knowledge production. We also seek the immediate elimination of restrictions to higher education for returned citizens.

Higher education should be a project of creating more inclusive and equitable communities. However, the work of transformation begins by realizing that higher education in the U.S. was founded on land grabs from indigenous people, the enslaved and forced migrant labor of African Americans, and the construction of borders through military occupation and colonial warfare.

The very idea of the liberal arts education rests on racist, sexist, homophobic, and ableist commitments to white, male, Western “knowledge” as the rightful core of all formal education. We disagree. As anti-racist feminist scholars and teachers, we believe that education and its places of learning must be decolonized. We resist the colonial, anti-Black, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and ableist practices on our campus and embedded in its structures of reward and investment. And we refuse the withholding of quality higher education based on criminal history, disability, or documented migrant status.