6 07, 2021

The Imperative to Work Towards Equity

2022-08-03T14:29:52-04:00July 6th, 2021|Tags: , |

by Mame Keita, Facilitator-Coordinator These past two years have been very telling. The pandemic has exacerbated thus revealed entrenched issues within our society. From health to housing, to education and police brutality to just cite a few, the problems are glaring, acute, and widespread.  These inequities demand our immediate collective attention and effort. The time to embrace the challenge of working towards equity is now, when our minds are still fresh, our hearts still bleeding and our anger is still burning strong enough to demand change from our institutions. Our institutions, from public to private, large to small, national or local, confronted with our communal outrage, promised us change. Many of them created compelling equity statements and declared publicly their commitment to equity, but that is not enough. The right, consistent and widely different actions are what will  make those ideals a reality. Our community also needs to hold the institutions accountable to those  promises if we want to see their realization. The work required is not easy and faced with challenging realities, attitudes can be those of the status quo, or worse, of regress. The justifications can be endless, lack of time, lack of money, unclear path, or just too much trouble until the next crisis.  If we fail to work tirelessly to make the changes required, we will soon find ourselves facing the same problem over and over again and wondering why. The road towards equity is

19 09, 2019

Our Equity Journey

2021-05-20T17:41:25-04:00September 19th, 2019|Tags: , , |

by Natalie Spriggs, Director of Programs Here at Peace Learning Center, the staff spend a lot of time discussing and analyzing equity.  If folks are talking about peace, equity must be part of the conversation AND the conversation has to be more than a check box of “we talked about it, now we are good.” What does equity look like here at Peace Learning Center? This is the question staff at PLC continually ask.  One of the places PLC has landed is how to work from a place of consensus, where power is shared, especially in decision-making.  One example of how PLC moved to a place of consensus in decision-making is moving from administration team meetings to full staff meetings.  Before, large decisions were being made by those in power, administration, with no other staff “at the table”.  PLC now has full staff meetings in place of administration meetings where information and decision-making is shared between all staff. Equity also looks like analyzing all that PLC does through an anti-racist lens.  For example, when looking at policies we analyze: Who wrote the policy? Who does this policy benefit? Is this policy fair? Why does this policy exist? etc.  PLC opened the policy discussion by starting out with the full staff reviewing the policy handbook. This was a long process, and is not done yet, but it ensures that everyone’s voice has a chance to be heard. Peace Learning Center

17 09, 2018

Impact Story: Intersection of Equity and Restorative Practices

2021-05-20T17:41:33-04:00September 17th, 2018|Tags: , , |

by Kristina Hulvershorn What does restorative practices have to do with equity?  In a word everything. I wanted to share a concept from our restorative practices trainings that might help clarify the connection. Every school and organization has boundaries.  Human beings need and thrive when we know the boundaries and we feel that they are fair.  Every school’s boundaries are slightly different…but almost every school in our geographical region has one thing in common: disproportionate discipline.  We issue harsher punishments on students of color. Specifically, black boys but also on black girls and  latinx boys and girls. But, channeling LeVar Burton, don’t take my word for it. Hit the books. Brilliant scholars have written extensively on this and you can even check out data from individual schools. So, I ask participants to explain what behaviors fall outside of those boundaries of acceptable behavior.  Swearing? Fighting? Disrespect?  Dressing out of uniform? Consider all of the gray areas in each of these categories.  What exactly is a swear word? Is horseplay considered fighting?  As we get in the weeds with that I then ask participants to consider, If behaving, thinking, or acting out of the box is what lands our kids in a realm of harsher discipline or worse, the school to prison pipeline, it’s time to consider the box itself. Specifically Who made that box?  Think about it. Who designed the norms of your school or organization? Let’s go ahead

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