Posted on September 14, 2020

Yale Faculty Participate in National Racial Justice Strike

Zaporah Price, Yale Daily News, September 14, 2020

Several Yale professors from the history, English and ethnicity, race and migration departments joined colleagues nationwide for the Scholar Strike — a call to racial justice amid a national reckoning over inequality.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, over 4,900 people across the country participated in the work stoppage, which gained traction via Twitter. Just 48 hours after political organizers announced the strike, around 600 professors had committed to participating by Aug. 28 by signing onto a Google form petition. Yale faculty members from a variety of departments and programs also participated in the strike.

“I’m participating because I believe we’re in a moment of crisis around these issues,” said history professor Stephen Pitti. “It’s important for people who can stand up and draw attention to questions about justice, violence and equity, to do so.”

Pitti, who is also the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM), canceled his undergraduate lecture, “Race, Radicalism, and Migration in Latinx History,” on Tuesday in honor of the strike.

University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler and Grand View University professor Kevin Gannon organized the protest online to “call awareness to the racial climate in America,” as stated on the Scholar Strike website that they made ahead of the action. The strike sought to promote anti-racism within higher education, gaining inspiration from recent NBA and WNBA demonstrations.

Since Yale faculty members did not organize the protest, Pitti found out about the strike via Twitter. He emailed his students in support of the nationwide effort and provided them with resources linking racial justice to the course on Latinx history. Pitti also said he plans to use his role as RITM Center director to coordinate future programming that will continue similar discussions on race in America.


Some professors did not cancel class but assured their students they were free to skip on Tuesday or Wednesday in recognition of the demonstration. {snip}


In collaboration with the United States strike, Canada’s Scholar Strike began on Sept. 10.