“When we walk into a classroom, we see all shades of skin; we hear all inflections of accent; we know that the people who have come to learn and have come to teach, listened to a world of languages at their grandmother’s kitchen table. We know that some of us took the bus to campus and some of us were dropped off by friends and relatives; some came in cars bought with money earned at unfairly low wages -- and some in dream cars. These things matter everywhere on FIU’s campus but nowhere more than in English Department classes where the exchange of ideas and perspectives is at the core of our shared work. Who we love, where we come from, the ways we see ourselves and want to see ourselves (and the labels and expectations that others attach to us), the communities where we feel welcome and at home (and the ones where we don’t) – these things are the stuff of each person’s experience and they matter here. They don’t matter because inclusion and diversity are fashionable words but rather because these differences signal the path that has led each of us to become a unique bringer of knowledge to the learning spaces here in our department. We are so happy that you are here.”
The faculty of the Department of English at Florida International University write this statement in order to affirm our deep commitment to fostering an intellectual environment premised on and nurtured by human diversity in its many forms. We recognize that diversity enriches our experiences of our varied objects of analysis, be they literary, theoretical, filmic, linguistic, or otherwise. We also recognize that diversity enriches our experiences of each other, and therefore strive to celebrate our diverse backgrounds and those of our students. This commitment stems not only from our intellectual and philosophical investments in the diversity of the human experience, but also in recognition of FIU’s unique status as the largest minority-serving institution in the State of Florida, and the largest Hispanic Serving Institution in the United States. Racio-ethnic, linguistic, and national-origin diversity are thus central to who we are, what we teach, what we write, how we read, and what we study. At the same time, we affirm our commitment to diversity in terms of religion, gender identity and expression, sexuality, age, color, ability, and socioeconomic class. In our department, diversity is not orthogonal and additive to our work, but rather essential to it.