The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) and the world were encouraged
earlier this year by the unexpected announcement of a nuclear weapons summit between U.S.
President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un to possibly remove nuclear
weapons from North Korea and end the threat of a nuclear war between the two nations. But
NAME and other social justice and equity-minded people worldwide were stunned May 24 by
Trump’s announcement that he had called off the June 12 meeting with Kim in Singapore.
Hours later, Trump left open the door that the summit might take place after all.
Trump’s whipsaw diplomacy occurred as the Korean Association for Multicultural Education’s
10th annual international conference was taking place at Seoul National University, attracting
about 300 educators and social activists from several countries in Asia, Europe, Australia and
North America. The Korean Association for Multicultural Education (KAME) is part of the The
World Coalition for Equity and Diversity in Education (WCEDE) as is NAME. Each is a social
justice and equity organization, promoting an inclusive education in which everyone’s life and
The KAME conference theme of “Working Together for a Better Multicultural Society” fits the
unprecedented hope generated by a U.S.-North Korea nuclear summit and runs counter to
Trump’s mercurial behavior toward the global peace it might generate.
A substantial NAME delegation at the KAME conference included keynote speakers and past
NAME presidents Carl Grant with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Francisco Rios with
Western Washington University, along with other engaged NAME members. NAME is
particularly dismayed and opposed to the U.S. president’s boasting of the United States’
military readiness if the summit with North Korea failed to occur and provoked an attack or
other act of aggression. The Trump administration’s unpredictable actions go against
everything the KAME conference and this fall’s NAME international conference promote.
NAME’s 28th annual conference in Memphis will commemorate and honor the Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The
theme of the Nov. 27-30 event is “How Many More ’Til We Rise Up? Multicultural Education, a
Radical Response of Love, Life and Dr. King’s Dream.” Dr. King — like NAME and KAME —
promoted nonviolence, stability, peace and understanding. He dreamed of a “Beloved
Community.” In Dr. King’s eyes, that Beloved Community is a world based on justice, equal
opportunity and love for one’s fellow human beings. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, racism
and all forms of discrimination would cease to exist. They would be replaced by economic and
educational equity and social inclusiveness. All would be embraced, and violence and warfare
would not plague the planet.
At KAME, educators from around the world shared ideas and best practices on addressing and
respecting the needs of students, underserved communities and educators globally. Schools
offer the best hope of teaching young people to become social justice activists as well as
good and inclusive multicultural world citizens. NAME’s goal — especially this year — is to
ensure that Dr. King’s dream of a Beloved Community is revived. That dream, after all, remains
a great vision for the world — accepting people’s differences, promoting nonviolent solutions
to disagreements and strengthening global connections.
Such a society is far better, more certain, dependable and sane than the threat of nuclear
annihilation, which Trump continually promotes. NAME knows that children learn and teachers
do their best work without the looming threat, fear or actual acts of violence and trauma —
locally or globally. NAME urges President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim to end their
aggressive rhetoric, dangerous gamblers’ dance and renew serious planning for the June 12
talks. The fate of the world, our children and the future of humankind may depend on it.