Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor of English Education, is the recipient of the 2018 Revolutionary Mentor Award of the Critical Educators for Social Justice (CESJ) Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). As one of the largest SIGs, CESJ creates space within AERA to develop, support, and promote scholarship that uses critical frameworks to challenge inequity in schools and society.
The Revolutionary Mentor Award recognizes “a scholar who has made distinguished contributions in the mentoring of PK-12 students, undergraduates and graduate students, and junior scholars as a means of helping to develop critical social justice scholars, educators, and activists.” In informing Sealey-Ruiz of the honor, the awards committee said it had “unanimously agreed that your nurturing and support of colleagues and students, never turning away those who seek you out for support, was not only praiseworthy, but radical in its inclusivity and thoughtfulness.”
The committee also praised Sealey-Ruiz’s “unflinching dedication to social justice scholarship and community work,” citing her co-direction of TC’s Racial Literacy Roundtables, in which, led by master’s degree and doctoral students and nationally known education scholars, participants examine issues of race, class, privilege and access; the College’s Civic Participation Project, which she co-founded with Laura Smith, Associate Professor of Psychology & Education, and Lalitha Vasudevan, Professor of Technology & Education, to (in their words) “provide safe and brave spaces to discuss issues related to social justice and equity for young people in schools and address the palpable effects of social exclusion and the need for increased opportunities for democratic and civic participation”; and her work with UMOJA Network for Young Men, which works with “over-aged, under-credited” black and Latino male high school students.
“We considered this work truly revolutionary,” the committee wrote, “highlighting once again your commitment to equity and human rights beyond the academy walls.”
Sealey-Ruiz, who earned her Ph.D. at New York University, is the co-author of two books, Gumbo for the Soul: Liberating Memoirs and Stories to Inspire Females of Color (2017) and Teacher Education and the Black Community: Implications for Equity, Access, and Achievement (2014), both published by Information Age.