Wednesday, June 10, 2020

What Is Your Organization Saying About Racial Justice (Equity)

There have been a variety of statements written in the past few weeks about the systemic racism that has been

recognized and acknowledged by a variety of educational organizations. Friend and colleague Michael Barbour posted the ones he was seeing on his blog Virtual School Meanderings.  He posts, for information purposes, the messages he gets. I get many of the same, but look through his blog to find the full texts of the few I’d like to highlight.

The “thoughts and prayers” comments used, especially by politicians after mass shootings – rather than a commitment to action were not used this time. But organizations have claimed to be allies to Black Lives Matter, condemning racism. What’s interesting is the vow to continue keeping on.

Which organizations would you prefer to support?

  •  Saying “Black Lives Matter” simply is not enough. As a community of researchers, we must unite to take bold, evidence-based action that exposes and ultimately ends the catastrophic police killings of unarmed Black people. AERA has issued calls like these before, sadly far too often. Our Executive Director Felice Levine and I welcome your suggestions for ways AERA members across divisions, SIGs, and committees can unite to have a collective impact on this issue. We intend to use the influence of AERA to move ahead.
  • We recognize that our Black colleagues are hurting, and are mindful of the pain and trauma these ongoing events cause. Know that we stand in solidarity with you and are working diligently to address how to move forward as an organization, mindful as well that our field must also move forward with us. In the interim, we reach out with words of encouragement and support to you and your loved ones. The world may be burning both literally and figuratively, but we are committed to the possibilities for transformation and making UCEA a more responsive, reflexive, and just community for all our Black brothers, sisters, and siblings
  •  The Christensen Institute stands in solidarity with the Black community in condemning racism, hate, and injustice in our country. We stand alongside those who support a more equitable and just country in which Black lives matter and an education system in which students of color thrive.
Our education team works hard to identify and analyze promising innovations that could unlock more student-centered systems. We are committed to finding and understanding new approaches to undo entrenched practices and build an equitable education system that enables learners, particularly those from marginalized communities, to reach their fullest potential.
We commit to holding ourselves to account. To that end, we are reading, listening, learning, and partnering with experts who can help us to examine our own organizational practices to root out the biases that affect our work. We invite feedback and hope to engage in open dialogue as we move forward on this journey.
  • The Aurora Institute stands with communities of color, especially Black communities, as we all grapple with the systemic racism and the unthinkable traumas playing out on the national stage today. While the heartbreaking death of George Floyd and the protests have arrested our attention, and perhaps only momentarily, we know that Black and Brown communities contend with these injustices on a daily basis

And then I got this one…

 (Highlander Institute) We as white leaders can no longer claim to be part of the solution while simultaneously sitting on the sidelines, and so, we commit to the following:

    1.  We will become more aware of and attuned to our white privilege. Until we – as white educators – put in the effort to understand how our identity as white adults impacts our behavior on a daily basis, we cannot make progress toward challenging policies and systems that perpetuate our privilege.
    2. We will cede power and make room for Black and brown people to lead – both within and outside our organization. We stand in solidarity with our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) colleagues, who come to the table with expertise and funds of knowledge beyond our capabilities as white leaders. We will amplify and elevate Black-led organizations by using our platform to showcase organizations that are doing this work through the lens of lived experience.
    3. We will listen, show empathy, and take action in the form of learning. There are so many resources guiding white people on how to show up for Black colleagues, students, and families. We will buy the books, read the articles, attend the workshops, and act on our new learning. [Diversity Talks is offering free online professional learning for white teachers this summer. Equity Institute has released a statement titled, “Racial Equity and Justice. Now.”]. We will follow Black education leaders on Twitter, and honor their perspectives by liking and retweeting their work without inserting ourselves. We will readread, and then read some more.
    4. Finally, we will engage in difficult, uncomfortable conversations that hold ourselves and other white people accountable for our statements, biases, actions, and inaction. We will engage in these conversations with humility, compassion, and a commitment to supporting the journey of others as well as our own.

And one that I didn’t see on Michael’s blog and this is only the final paragraphs of the message from John von Knorring President and Publisher Stylus Publishing

It’s now time not for reaction, but action. 

In whatever sphere we operate, as employees; employers of service workers; users of gig services; business owners; educators; buyers of food, goods, and services; sports fans; citizens; and voter s, we need to be aware of the conditions under which people are working and whether they have opportunities for advancement or to earn a living wage, and whether these conditions of work are equitable across race.

If they are not, complain; call them out; write to the CEO; move your support

While this is a personal statement, it reflects the collective sentiments and views of Stylus’s staff and their commitment to equity and social justice, and who are working on a company-wide response. For my part, I will, beyond the work I do, keep this conversation to the fore within my family and social circle; work to influence my local community; and push my local, state, and federal representatives to work for equity and dismantle the racist structures that discriminate against Black and Brown people.  to a different business; get on social media; get out and demonstrate (with social distancing); call your local, state, or federal representative. We can no longer afford, for the sake of our democracy and society, to be complicit. Bottom line: we white people MUST DO SOMETHING!

(The entire statement is here

If you’ve gotten this far, please take action when you receive a message like these. Let them know you support them or help them understand why what they are saying isn’t sufficient.  And if they need help knowing what to do

send this link 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Thursday, June 04, 2020

How to Achieve Equity of Opportunity When Access Isn’t Equal

Last week Kelsey Ortiz from iDAC at Kansas University and I figuratively sat down with Jason Mitchel to do a podcast as part of the Opportunity Thrives series.

Our Session:  How to Achieve Equity of Opportunity when Access Isn't Equal was enjoyable.  You'll have to listen (or read) to see if it was any good.  One thing I was able to accomplish in the process was to encourage Sarah Williamson, the podcast's producer, to include a transcript with the podcast to make it more accessible.

Sarah says she will make a transcript for all her podcasts and is even going to generate transcripts for the previously recorded podcasts.  It's nice to know that I was able to have that influence.  If you are making podcasts, please produce a podcast transcript and make the podcast more accessible.

  Here's the link to the podcast.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020