Action and conversation about racial inequalities go beyond words, prayers, and justice for George Floyd to the root of our integrity. What are our core values as human beings? What are our values?
Protests have always played an important role in social progress. How can today’s generation help end racial inequalities? How can adults mentor and support youth?
What is Racial Equity?
Racial equity encompasses a broad concept that aims to eliminate inequitable life outcomes due to race. Society must effect systemic change to achieve this goal. This includes the following areas:
- Race can predict the unequal distributions of resources
- False narrative: Black and Brown people are more than White people
- Institutions such as the criminal justice system, healthcare and education have discriminatory and unfair processes and structures.
- False narrative: Diversity weakens society, not strengthens it
What role does education play in Racial Equity?
Education plays an important role in ensuring children and their families have equal chances to reach their goals, regardless of race, economic status, or other factors. Educational equity was originally about achieving equal academic performance and graduation rates with less privileged children.
Educational equity isn’t enough. Developmental equity is the right to have the experiences and relationships that will help them succeed in school and life. Many children of color don’t have the opportunities that will help them develop the inner strengths that can sustain their human flourishing.
Anger Drives Social Change
Even though civic apathy has been increasing over many decades, one psychological motivator always drives social change: ANGER. We can now see, feel and understand the anger that marches in American and other streets all over the globe.
Young people can be powerful agents of change when they care enough about justice and racial equity. Rosa Parks stated, “Knowing the facts eliminates fear.” Parents, educators and community leaders have a responsibility to help young people understand George Floyd’s death and how it impacted their lives to become more self-aware and a driver of positive change.
Different middle school and high school students, including those who are wealthy and those who live in poverty, need to have the opportunity to discuss racial equality with one another with their parents, teachers, public officials, and their teachers. They are not sheep if they engage in dialogue, peaceful protests, problem-solve in their communities and offer their opinions. They are powerful leaders.
Will George Floyd’s death be a turning point in America’s shameful systemic racism? Today is a time of greater hope than ever before. This may be an opportunity for educators to turn current anger into learning opportunities for American youth.
There are many resources available to help young people find meaning and action. These organizations can provide guidance and inspiration. These tools can help students find their voice in meaningful, nonviolent and artistic ways that are powerful. Your efforts as a parent or educator could be one of the most important civics lessons of the 21 century.
Racial Equity Resources for Youth to Impact Social Change
CENTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE IN EDUCATION
The Center for Racial Justice in Education provides training, consultation, and in-depth partnerships for educators, schools, or educational organizations that want to promote racial equality. The Center has created a document that contains resources to help kids talk about race, racism, and racialized violence.
DESIGN TO CHANGE USA
Design for Change USA provides educators and adults with the tools to support student-driven impact. It helps students research social issues such as racial equality, brainstorm solutions, create action plans, and implement those ideas.
Embrace Race is a multiracial community made up of teachers, parents, experts and caring adults who support one another to overcome the challenges faced by race in children, families and communities.
Global Citizen’s mission is to create a global movement of 100M citizens who take action to end extreme poverty by 2030. They are committed to racial equality and have an excellent article 7 Ways You Can Step Up for Racial Justice Now
HIGHLANDER RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER
Highlander advocates grassroots organizing in Appalachia, the South, and movement-building. They are committed to justice, equality and sustainability, helping people shape their destinies.
NATIONAL COALITION VIEW DIALOGUES & DELIBERATION
The NCDD is a great resource center. It facilitates dialogue and deliberation that allows people to collaborate across cultural differences to solve societal problems. Their website has thousands of resources, many for young people who want to discuss racial equality.
OTHERING & BELONGING INSTITUTE
The Othering & Belonging Institute, UC Berkeley, provides news, research reports and videos. These materials are designed to promote inclusion and belonging for all.
Race Forward is a movement that builds racial equity in partnership with communities. Teachers and students can find excellent reports, research and other tools on their websites.
Restorative justice, a cooperative process that seeks to heal those affected by the criminal justice system, is growing in popularity. Edutopia has a great list of resources that can be used to implement restorative justice in schools.
THE FREECHILD PROJECT
The FreeChild Project offers tools, training, and technical assistance that help young people take on new societal roles. Their amazing resources can help young people make social change.
The Teen Empowerment Program in Boston encourages young people and those who work with them to think deeply about social problems and offers tools for creating positive change.
YOUTH ACT! – A PROGRAM FOR STREET LAW
Youth Act! (r), a program that teaches youth how they can advocate for meaningful changes in their communities by using the legal advocacy process.
Youth Speaks a platform for young visionaries and artists. It offers both oral and written literacies. They encourage youth to discover, develop, publically present and use their voices as social change creators.