Building racially just and radically humanizing school districts and schools is imperative. We must build schools where Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latina/o/x youth and adults can thrive, not just survive, and be fully human. However, to be honest, doing this work can be very overwhelming and difficult to figure out what to prioritize. This can happen because dismantling the ways that white supremacy, anti-blackness, and racism are deeply embedded in schools (and people’s psyches) is massive and so much needs to be done.
As a result, there are ongoing calls to “tear it all down.” While I deeply understand this sentiment, and trust me, depending on what day you catch me on, I am saying that exact thing. However, we also have to pay attention to what Dr. kihana ross describes as the “meantime and in-between times.” That is, we must both keep working towards larger racial justice transformations and doing the everyday work, which may be (at times) in very small, micro ways. But, to only tear things down is insufficient. We also have to build new systems, structures, and educational realities for Black and other racially minoritized youth. As Robin D.G. Kelley said, “without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down.”
Prioritizing and Embedding Racial Justice
A way to start building the districts and schools that our Black and other racially minoritized youth and adults need demands us to prioritize and embed racial justice in all we do. A central principle of prioritization is doing those things that will help Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latina/o/x youth and adults thrive, not what is palatable to white people and the white power structure.
When thinking about prioritizing this work, people, again, can often feel overwhelmed because there is so much to do and they don’t know where to start. In fact, a question that people have asked me many times over the years is “how do we prioritize this work when so much needs to be done?”
I often get this question after people have conducted an equity audit, needs assessment, or collected real-life data from people in their school-community context.
However, the prioritization question is important because it can lead to very powerful work. As a result, I have created two videos (below) to share with you a process to prioritize your work. My hope is that this process will help you, and the people you’re working with, to better prioritize your racial justice work this school year. In today’s article, I want to share with you How To Collectively Prioritize Your Racial Justice Work This School Year.
Click below to watch the videos and please share your comments or questions.