“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.” -The Salt Eaters, Bambara, 1980

Are You Sure, Sweetheart?

We write this letter in pursuit of a research community that centers healing, love, and accountability. Since March 24, 2022, we have dwelled on the re-started conversation of the harmful nature of “Microaggressions: The Game!” and the lack of accountability from harm-doers. Every action that contributed to and enabled the creation, implementation, elevation, and continued execution of this game and its associated workshops are embodiments of ongoing harms to us and other historically minoritized individuals. Long-existing systemic violences of extraction, coloniality, and anti-Blackness, within and outside of computer science, have been raised and gone unaddressed for years (see resources at end of letter). We write this letter with urgency, grounded in our collective pain and solidarity, in hopes of seeding and creating just futures for the computing field.

As individuals seeking justice in the field, we craft this letter with an abolitionist lens, understanding that no one is disposable and that accountability is necessary for the community. We dream of a community that simultaneously holds harm-doers accountable and supports them. We recognize that harm-doers are not individual actors but are shaped, enabled, and uplifted within larger systems. Thus, “harm-doer” is not a static identity: anyone (including the writers of this letter) can commit harm, at any time. As a community, we need a collective process to hold ourselves accountable when we enable harm.

Harm should not be something we are comfortable with. We ask everyone in the community to join us in challenging ourselves and in unlearning within a zone of discomfort. To build and nurture the computing education community and beyond, and also to prevent harm in the future, we envision three main pillars for community-building, centered around accountability: Recognizing, Embracing, and Healing & Restoring. Fundamentally, we build and sustain this community through acknowledging, respecting, and dignifying each others’ lives. Our struggles as minoritized scholars and the work in our field are deeply intertwined with other areas and real-world happenings. We must hold each other to higher standards that share a common goal of loving our most marginalized.

Wholeness is No Trifling Matter

We build our vision upon three intertwined pillars: recognizing, embracing, and healing & restoring. In deciding on these pillars, we consciously utilized verbs to signify the actions that we continuously work towards. When we say “pillars,” we do not mean to imply that they are heavy or unmovable. Rather, foundational to the community, the pillars are meant to be dynamic and grow as we learn and unlearn. In other words, what we write here is not a static nor finalized understanding.

Of importance, these pillars are nothing without those who embody them. In other words, these values cannot exist without their foundation: the community. They grow and evolve with our community. Living beings (including, but not limited to, lands, waters, and human peoples) of this community hold the pillars together in a mutually supportive relationship: the pillars serve as a reminder of our values and goals as our community enhances, forms, and re-evolves the pillars as needed. These pillars are malleable because our community is malleable, adapting and readapting to our needs and our growth.


Looks and feels like a community where the presence, voices, concerns, and labor of members of historically minoritized identities are acknowledged, communicated, and amplified. To recognize with accountability is to commit to self-reflection by understanding one’s role in structural harms.

Can be supported through:

  • Actively listening to and amplifying the ideas of Black, Disabled, Indigenous, and otherwise historically minoritized peoples, whose thoughts are often pushed to the margins. For example, practicing citational justice by referencing the voices and work historically sidelined by mainstream scholarship.
  • Offering space to challenge harmful politics— especially from those in positions of power and from organizations, such as Special Interest Groups (SIGs), who often do not recognize the biases within their processes. For example, making meetings open to all community members, actively informing the community about decisions and why they were made, and regularly soliciting and/or welcoming feedback from the community via public forums for discussion between the leaders and other members of the community.
  • Taking in feedback, sitting with uncomfortable feelings, acknowledging harm, and reflecting on why and how you committed harm. For example, listening to, believing, and addressing people of minoritized identities when they share with you that they have been harmed by you or your work.

In the spirit of practicing self-reflection, we invite you to pause and take a moment to reflect:

  • What are your values, and how do your work and your networks embody them? Whose cultures, norms, and practices do your values amplify?
  • What else does a community that recognizes look and feel like? What additional individual, institutional, and SIG-level actions can support this?


In a community built upon embracing, members of historically minoritized identities can bring their full selves, their knowledge, experiences, and liveliness, and are loved for it. To embrace with accountability is to commit to being in relation with the community by understanding one’s responsibilities to the community.

Can be supported through:

  • Enacting care towards the livelihoods of all beings. For example, taking time to understand– not co-opt–knowledge, cultures, experiences, and (hi)stories as well as making room to learn from and with each other, including the lands, waters, and living beings around us who are also harmed by computing.
  • Acting in public solidarity with, not solely for, others. We do not wish for saviorism or passive allyship; we wish for community. For example, hearing the concerns of vulnerable members within and outside the academy and using one’s privileges as a tenured faculty member to actively and publicly advocate with and for them.
  • Making amends, taking responsibility for impacts, and making shifts to stop harm. For example, SIGs acknowledging and taking action against patterns of exclusion by intentionally and meaningfully increasing the diversity of leadership through policy and recruitment changes, to especially center the ideas of Black and Indigenous women and gender expansive peoples.

In the spirit of practicing being in relationship, we invite you to pause and take a moment to reflect:

  • Who do you/your community embrace? Who have you/your community not embraced, and why?
  • How can being in relationship with each other help prevent future harm from being done?
  • What else does a community that embraces look and feel like? What additional individual, institutional, and SIG-level actions can support this?

Healing and Restoring

Looks and feels like cultivating space to heal and recover: from work, from receiving harm, and from committing harm. We emphasize the need to care for and forgive ourselves as imperfect beings while also holding ourselves to a standard of responsibility to our community. To heal and restore with accountability is to nurture community by understanding one’s ongoing commitments to the health of the community.

Can be supported through:

  • Expecting, encouraging, and enabling rest, both from ourselves and others. For example, advisors emphasizing to students that their well-being (both physical and mental) is a priority, and any work can wait. Advisors should also enact this by resting as needed.
  • Building and sustaining space to acknowledge trauma. For example, hosting a safe space for healing for people who have been institutionally and individually harmed.
  • De-weaponizing tools and spaces. For example, the reimagining of CS as a space for opportunities, innovation, and inclusion, and not as a tool for capitalism.
  • Continuously holding community accountable, committing to unlearning and preventing further harm. For example, SIGCSE Technical Symposium no longer supporting the workshops or sessions that use the cards or ideas from “Microaggressions: The Game!”

In the spirit of practicing nurturing community, we invite you to pause and take a moment to reflect:

  • How can we grow and learn from the harms committed within and by our community?
  • What else does a community that heals and restores look and feel like? What additional individual, institutional, and SIG-level actions can support this?

A Lot of Weight When You’re Well

We remind you that people have been and continue to be harmed. Many of us are still in pain. We can’t keep normalizing violence. Engaging with this letter is a step towards healing, restoring, and preventing further harm. However, this is an ongoing process that requires commitment to the work. What have you done to help yourself heal? What have you done to help the community heal? Though a signature of support helps amplify our message, we urge a deep engagement with this letter. Re-read this letter, come back to it when you need to, and truly consider the questions we ask as well as what further actions you can take. In signing this letter, you are dedicating yourself to consistently engaging in the zone of discomfort.

We welcome you here and hope you join us in this change.

For resources that informed this letter, see: linktr.ee/csed_community.

To add your support to this letter, please complete the following form: forms.gle/fDt2tL9ST3dHJ5GB6. New additions will be updated weekly.


Natalie Araujo Melo. I identify as a light skinned Afro-Latinx (Brazilian-American). I commit to speaking out against injustices and challenging the need to be “nice” ingrained in me by white supremacy, especially in times when niceness doesn’t move justice forward.

Briana C. Bettin. I identify as a white woman. I commit to amplifying the voices and vision of those historically marginalized through systemic design (technological and societal); and to center in my work the praxis of “imagining otherwise” toward tomorrows with more empowerment, justice, joy, and healing for all.

Francisco Castro. I identify as a Brown Filipino immigrant. I commit to actively fighting against injustice, violence, colonialism, and oppression in its many forms, and creating spaces where justice, love, and care are centered to uplift, value, and empower the voices, works, and lives of minoritized peoples and communities.

Victoria C. Chávez. I identify as a U.S.-born and based Guatemalan individual. I commit to being public and loud in the fight against white supremacy (including ableism, anti-Blackness, capitalism, and colonialism) while centering and elevating the stories and voices of those most impacted by injustices.

Earl W. Huff, Jr. I identify as an African American. I commit to fighting back against the injustices that silence the voices of those most needed to be heard and creating space for such voices.

Gayithri Jayathirtha. I identify as an international scholar from India, currently working in the US. Back in India, I was born into an upper-caste, middle-class, semi-orthodox Brahmin family; here in the US I get identified and I identify myself as a brown-colored scholar from the Global South. As I learn to engage with solidarity with the historically excluded across “nation-state” borders, I commit to centering and amplifying the voices and perspectives of the peoples, communities, and societies that face injustices.

Yerika A Jimenez. I identify as a first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic. I commit to fighting against the status quo that we have commonly accepted in CS Education. I also commit to amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized and silenced.

Megumi Kivuva. I identify as a Black Kenyan immigrant. I commit to combating anti-blackness in Computing Education by amplifying the voices and perspective of my people through community work, research, and solidarity.

Minji Kong. I identify as a first-generation U.S. immigrant from South Korea. I commit to standing against violence, together with other fellow Computing Education community members seeking justice, and amplify the voices of those who have historically been marginalized and silenced.

Amber Solomon. I identify as a Black woman. I commit to rejecting capitalism by centering rest in my praxis, entering spaces with love and care, and creating space to listen to and learn with/from minoritized voices.

Jen Tsan. I identify as an Asian American woman who was a first-generation college student. I commit to fighting to include the perspectives and ideas of marginalized students and teachers in CS Ed.

Signed in support,

Aadarsh Padiyath. I identify as a US Born Desi and Queer man. I commit to changing CS culture and artifacts by critically engaging with our CS community and working with minoritized communities to create sustainable futures we belong in.

Nery Antonio Chapetón-Lamas. I identify as a proud Chicano, child of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants, and first-gen college/everything with privileges as a cisgender hetero male. I commit to engaging critically with my colleagues and students discomforts in the oppression of minoritized people’s within the appropriate context, most especially in CS spaces, including my own.

Shamika Klassen. I identify as a dark skinned, able-bodied Black woman who holds multiple degrees from predominantly white institutions (PWI) and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree from another PWI as a first generation college student. I commit to practicing citational justice for scholars in my field who are often marginalized and under-cited and encouraging rest in and for myself.

Jakita O. Thomas. I identify as a Black woman tech activist who has tenure at my university. I commit to shining a light on the ways in which oppression is structured and configured through my research, and to calling out harm when I see it and calling out white supremacy when I see it.

Elizabeth Johnson. I identify as a white woman with tenure as an associate professor of computer science. I commit to continually examining my teaching and professional activities to judge whether they promote belongingness or harm it, especially in regards to historically marginalized people, with an eye towards improving those efforts.

Owen Astrachan. I identify as a white male, boomer, teacher/educator, who expected to attend elite undergraduate college and did. I commit to embrace cultural humility more than cultural competency, to embrace and support my community and colleagues who are working in the space of ensuring that minoritized people and groups can succeed, and to take steps to disrupt the status quo.

David Zabner. I identify as white, male, Jewish, Latino, a former software engineer, and current STEM Ed PhD student. I commit to amplifying under-represented voices even when “little” things are wrong.

Chand John. I commit to recognizing harm in computing, advocating for change, making change, and amplifying voices from communities harmed or neglected by practitioners and institutions of computing.

Barbara Lerner. I identify as a white, female, tenured faculty member. I commit to listening actively to my students and colleagues and working in solidarity with them to eliminate behaviors that cause harm.

Alicia Nicki Washington. I identify as a Black woman. I commit to not being silent about the pain experienced by the most minoritized in CS education, as well as creating spaces for those students/scholars to be seen and heard.

Amy Ko. I identify as a white and Asian woman of transgender experience who grew up with poverty, divorce, and social isolation. I sought computing in academia as a place of security and refuge and computing education as a community with a capacity for social change. Now, as senior faculty, and holding many positions of power, I hold a sincere commitment to prioritizing racial, gender, and disability justice in all of my research, teaching, service, and advocacy work. I recognize that the many ways that I am marginalized in no way erase the privileges I have, earned and unearned, or my duty in using them for justice. I commit to dismantle our oppressive structures, systems, and policies on partnership with everyone — in publishing, curricula, admissions, hiring, recognition, teacher education, and more.

Kevin Buffardi. I identify as a white man with Scottish/Italian heritage who benefitted from early exposure to computing in the 1980’s. With two parents with advanced degrees, I learned how to navigate and succeed in academia. I am a tenured professor and member of a large, active union to defend academic freedom. I commit to listening and learning. I will have missteps but will seek to learn from my failures to seek continuous improvement. I will listen, support, and amplify minoritized voices in fostering an arc toward justice.

Vishesh Kumar. I commit to listening, to trying to revise and modify my work, and to change what and how I pay attention to in response to things I learn from other marginalized scholars and peoples.

Joseph Isaac. I identify as a Black male Human-Centered Computing Ph.D. student where my research focuses on K-12 CS Education. My source of power and privilege is my diverse network. I have access to people to help me with different things. I commit to healing and restoring for the community, but that starts with myself. I believe helping myself first will then empower me to helps others.

Lori Pollock. I identify as a US-born, white woman, with parents who did not attend college. I commit to continue learning and working towards increasing awareness and action for diversity, equity and inclusion across various components of the computer science community.

Jean Salac. I identify as a first-generation Filipina immigrant. My power & privilege stem from the social and cultural capital I gained through my secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education in predominantly white spaces. I commit to always centering the humanity of marginalized scholars in the face of harmful power dynamics and oppressive structures.

Stacey Sexton. I identify as a white nonbinary trans person who grew up in a rural part of the United States. I was a first generation college college student. I currently live in one of the most climatically stable points on the earth. I commit to continual self-examination of the ways that I show up in community and being a partner in accountability for other white people who want to do the same.

Charles Logan. I identify as a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied man who grew up in an upper middle class household. I commit to acting in public solidarity with minoritized individuals and communities in the struggle for justice while actively dismantling the ongoing effects of settler colonialism on my research practices and pedagogy within and beyond computing and literacies education.

Matthew Frazier. I identify as African American man. I commit to spreading awareness.

Matthew Louis Mauriello. I identify as a cis-hetero white man in academia, which affords me considerable privilege as I go about my daily life. I commit to engaging more with anti-bias and similar literature and plan to bring this material into my teaching.

Valerie Barr. I identify as a white lesbian cis-gender woman. I commit to continuing my 45 year struggle against white supremacy and endeavoring to bring together my political commitments and my life as a computer scientist and a CS educator.

Amy Csizmar Dalal. I identify as a white woman and full professor. I commit to use my position and capital on campus to elevate the voices of others and do the difficult work of institutional (and personal) change; de-weaponize the tools and spaces of computing; reflect on and repair past, present, and future harms.

Benjamin Xie. I identify as a US-born Taishanese Chinese-American demiman who grew up with the privilege that came with “successful” social and economic assimilation. I value collectivism and use this to collaboratively challenge systemic injustices. I commit to resisting dominant systemic pressures towards individual advancement and instead make time and space for shared reciprocity within and across diverse communities.

Jill Denner. I identify as I identify as a white cisgender woman. I commit to active listening, offering space, and taking in feedback so that I can be a part of creating a more inclusive CS education community.

Mihaela Sabin. I identify as white able-bodied woman, mother, and immigrant, raised by caring parents with engineering degrees, and educated in the U.S. and in my home country under an oppressive Communist regime. I commit to listen, learn, unlearn, reflect, and act to turn my quiet rage into public expressions that touch and change others like me; and those who don’t see the harm that minoritized scholars in computing education research and other minoritized individuals from all walks of life suffer. I join the project to act upon holding myself accountable and to act in solidarity with the community this project nurtures and builds.

Sharon Tuttle. I identify as a U.S.-born white woman, full professor, and cisgender, heterosexual, and able-bodied person. I commit to reading the work of historically minoritized individuals, amplifying their work, and taking in feedback and acknowledging harm I commit.

Josh Sheldon. I identify as a white, hetero, cis, male who is Jewish and copes with chronic mental and physical health issues. I hold both privilege and stigma and antisemitism as gifts of my identity. I work in a group that values rest and “humaneness” at an institution that prides itself on not doing those things. I will advocate for both at my institution and in my other spheres of influence.

Kathleen Timmerman. I am a white female who is first generation college student from a blue collar family. I commit to listen, learning, and turning that into action.