I was reminded recently about the organization Dignity in Schools, which is a national effort and can inform our local efforts to address systemic issues.
A VERY relevant article was published at Vox by Alvin Chang called “We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.” This is research we can use to help us push for intentionally desegregating our schools. It will take concerted, intentional action to make it happen. I do have mixed feelings about it because we heard from so many community members of color that keeping communities together is important to them, which means that we need to follow those communities in understanding how/if desegregation can help all of our students and how we should go about doing this (which the article does not elaborate on). I’d love your thoughts on this.
One of our members also told me about being trained as an Allyship facilitator, which allows her to run Allyship workshops with Service Never Sleeps, a local non-profit. From their website: Service Never Sleeps is an Arlington nonprofit that “mobilizes communities to exercise “Allyship,” an active way of life that utilizes bridge-building to ensure equality, opportunity, and inclusion for everyone.” SNS facilitates a training workshop that establishes the new term, “Allyship,” as an active way of life, revolving around the “CLAIM” acronym — Care, Learn, Act, Influence, and Maintain. The workshop teaches individuals about the causes of social injustice, how to be effective allies for marginalized communities, and how to actively influence and educate others.
I have received some positive feedback about the Portland School District equity documents (from my update last week) and I’d love to hear from more of you about how this might be received in our community. I believe that presenting this information to individual School Board members would be more beneficial than bringing this up at a School Board meeting when they don’t have much opportunity to respond. Does anyone have thoughts about the best way to do this? And what kind of documentation/support information would be helpful to have prepared ahead of time? I remember someone telling me that they are most responsive to community members who come to them bringing potential solutions to a problem, so I’d like to approach this with that kind of intention. I welcome any feedback on this.
I also came across some great resources on the National PTA website related to diversity and inclusion, which I think many of our PTAs could improve upon. The toolkit is here. I’d love to hear from you if you bring this up with your school’s PTA and what kind of responses you get. Let’s share our ideas for helping our PTAs reflect the community they are supposed to represent.