The Time for Action on Racial Equity Is Now

By Raymond Fenton
Guest Blogger

 

Across Washington state, most students have already completed little over a month of remote learning. As some adjust to this new normal and begin to settle, others are faced with adjusting to a little more than virtual classrooms and limited social interactions with peers. While we endure COVID-19, we are also witnessing, perhaps, the largest civil rights movement in America’s history.

As protests for Black lives intensify our focus on race and racism, and the pandemic increases strain on our economy and healthcare system, social inequalities across the nation could not be more visible. So where does that leave our most vulnerable in the education system?

That was the topic of Thursday’s virtual event: Racial Equity in Education, where the uniqueness, opportunity, and gravity of this pivotal moment was distinguished. “Now is the time.” That was the charge from Brooke Brown, 2021 WA state Teacher of the Year, as she addressed the audience yesterday. Read More

Watch our LEVinar on Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing

Historically, the race conversation and topic are treacherous waters to navigate and the ‘colorblind’ approach has robbed us of the framework, language, and power to effectively address and dismantle it.

In this webinar, TED speaker and Brownicity.com creator Dr. Lucretia Berry, author of What LIES Between Us: Fostering First Steps Towards Racial Healing, describes how parents and teachers can talk to their children and students about race and race-related trauma. She also answers your questions.

Moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.

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Community Members Discuss Equity in an Online Rally for Educational Justice

By Andre Lawes Menchavez, Engagement Intern

 

Student speaker Amanda Chamba of the Bellevue College Black Student Union

As the national movement continues for Black lives, it proceeds to expose various facets of society that are impacted by the lack of equity for marginalized communities.

One area, in particular, is education.

The intersection of equity and education has become more evident in the recent climate of our world.

Black folx dying at the hands of the police intersect with the conversation on school resource officers (SRO’s) and the need to uphold restorative justice programs for discipline in schools. Pipelines to prison for BIPOC intersect with the conversations on diversifying the workforce in schools for more visibility of BIPOC teachers, counselors, and mentors for students. As COVID-19 ravages throughout the country and eliminates access, it intersects with the conversations on alleviating these same issues for students who are low-income and/or live with special needs.

Back to School: An Equity Centered Conversation with Parents, Providers, Teachers, Educators, and Students was a virtual event aimed to tackle these equity issues in education. Community members came together to discuss why and how we should use racial equity and social justice lenses to reimagine how schools can support every learner. Read More

Watch our LEVinar on Why Students Need to Go Outdoors

Overwhelming research shows health and emotional benefits to recess, exercise, and free outdoor play.

In this webinar, Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington, Bookie Gates, Servant Leader, Baseball Beyond Borders/Gates Ventures Group, Seattle Public Schools parent Linnea Westerlind, author of Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide, and KUOW Education Reporter Ann Dornfeld discuss the mental health benefits of recess and PE programs in schools, outline what we need now to support school districts in Washington state to incorporate exercise programs into curriculum during this period of distance or hybrid learning, and answer your questions.

Moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.

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Podcast – Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, contributing writer at The Atlantic, and CBS News correspondent, how we can be anti-racist ourselves, how, in Dr. Kendi’s words, he evolved from internalizing racist thoughts to being an anti-racist, and what we can do to create a more equitable, anti-racist society.

 

Listen:

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Watch our LEVinar on Raising Antiracist White Kids – Steps on Parenting for Racial Justice

Real challenges exist when it comes to raising white children in a society that is full of racial injustice. Talking about race means naming white privilege and hierarchy. How do we do this honestly, without making children feel bad about being white?

In this webinar, award-winning educator and public speaker Dr. Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, talks about how to teach white children to notice race and how to address racism when they encounter it. She also answers your questions.

Moderated by League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman.

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Ways to Take Action to Support the Black Community

By Lauri Hennessey, League of Education Voters CEO

 

Students at South Shore PreK-8 in Seattle

Today, our offices are closed in solidarity with the Statewide Silent March and General Strike led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. Our closure today will provide a dedicated opportunity for everyone at League of Education Voters (LEV) to focus on the inward and outward work of dismantling racism, ending police brutality, and supporting Black lives. Everyone will engage in different ways, whether that is through reading books, watching documentaries, or participating in the statewide protest. For some, it may just mean thinking deeply or talking to friends and family. For others, it may be taking time for quiet reflection. No matter what, today is only part of a longer and deeper journey, as we dedicate ourselves to learning from our collective racist history and taking action.

One way you can take action is to help organizations making a profound difference in the Black community. Here are just a few: Read More

Podcast – Joy Sebe of Open Doors on Racial Equity and the Impact of COVID-19 on Communities

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Joy Sebe, Advocacy and Civic Engagement Program Manager and Director of the Community Parent Resource Center at Open Doors for Multicultural Families, what the community served by Open Doors needs right now in this time of COVID-19, what we can do to provide support, what worked in her personal education journey, and what she would like to see schools prioritize as they plan for re-opening.

 

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