“Leadership for Educational Liberation:” An 8 week program beginning early 2022
Building on the Leadership for Real Integration workshop series that concluded in April 2021, the program has hired Youth Organizers to engage with the history and fundamental principles of organizing and policy development through a series of weekly roundtables and seminars focused on racial equity and inclusion in educational law and public policy in New Jersey.
With the guidance of program stakeholders, the Youth Organizers will virtually participate in and facilitate group dialogues, develop relational organizing skills, broaden their knowledge base, and acquire additional skills through workshop participation, reviewing resources, and thematic discussions.
The goal of this program is to impart skills, resources, and strategies to the Youth Organizers, enabling them to engage in future policy development and organizing to collectively realize equitable school integration in New Jersey.
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Please return to this page for program updates.
Last year’s Leadership for Real Integration workshop series concluded in April 2021, with the Building Our Legacy, Passing the Torch! Town Hall.
At the town hall (click to watch) a few of our Amplifiers introduced Joseph, Benedicta, Samantha, and Bilkisu, who shared stories describing their lived experiences within New Jersey’s educational system:
I hated school. It was never the first place I wanted to go. Imagine yourself being a black student in a school with strict uniform policies, strict rules, no freedom and a lot of white superiors. You have 1% chance of being you.
I remember when I was called down to the Guidance Counselor office and they explained to me how there was a new kid (who only spoke Spanish) and they wanted me to guide him to his first class period. I thought to myself, “How can you expect a student to learn his way around school if the only thing you are helping him learn is how to get to his first class?”
My typical black features wouldn’t be so taboo if my school had more people who looked like me. People are not familiar with blackness so how can we progress as a society for everyone being equal if we still have people ashamed of their background.
Throughout the event, Guilherma, Ningberi, Dedra, Vanessa, and Yoselin invited the audience to reflect on our own experiences in school, and Ayomide and Jocelyn grounded us with the following statistics:
- 88% of students in poor communities attend underfunded schools, compared with just 6 percent of students in wealthy areas, according to a 2019 analysis by the Education Law Center.
- According to a ProPublica analysis of 2015-16 federal data, New Jersey has among the widest racial gaps in the United States, suspending Black and Hispanice students at far greater rates than white peers. Black students were 5.4 times more likely to face out-of-school suspension than white students, while Hispanic students were 2.4 times more likely.
- According to a report by New Jersey Policy Perspective, 66% of New Jersey teachers are white women, but only 22% of students are white and female.
- According to a report by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, children in New Jersey schools start out in schools even more segregated than in the later grades, affecting children in a period in which stereotypes have not yet formed and interracial contact is usually easy. Part of this pattern in the public schools is a reflection of the state’s excellent court orders providing high quality preschool for many students of color
- New Jersey’s public school system continues to be among the most segregated in the nation, according to a 2018 report from the Center for Diversity and Equality in Education.
As the event continued, Raven, Ariana, and Michelle listed the group’s demands and encouraged the audience to take the following actions:
- FOLLOW @TIPRutgers, @LATINOACTION, @SandSJ_NJ (Twitter & IG) /@SandSJ.org (Facebook) on SOCIAL MEDIA to stay updated on our work.
- SHARE your own story about segregation on TIKTOK, INSTAGRAM, ETC.
- For artists, singers, dancers, etc., show us what segregation looks like! Express through your preferred form of art and, if you feel comfortable, tag us so we can publicize!
- Research what segregation looks like in your home community.
- Sign and share their petition demanding the Murphy administration integrate their schools.
- Additional Resources:
Finally, our MC for the evening, Tyriq, along with fellow Amplifier Nicole, closed out the evening with a recap and the following quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda:
“I may not live to see our glory,
But I will gladly join the fight.
And when our children tell our story,
They’ll tell the story of tonight.”Indeed they will.