My name is Alexis Reed and I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a guideline on how to illicit change regarding equity and inclusion in your school. Recently, I planned out activities and workshops for students in my high school to participate in to further their understanding of social justice issues and topics. In the process, I made a detailed plan of all the steps taken and a description of everything that was done that day, and now my goal is to share it with you all in hopes of you doing something similar in your community.
Importance and Sustainable Development Goals:
Peace, Justice, and strong institutions– By educating students/ the community on equity and inclusion, you are fostering comprehensive change in institutions like schools. You are also carrying the conversation of social justice into an every day environment.
When issues that tend to be uncomfortable for some are normalized, it allows for greater understanding and conversation. The goal is to educate in hopes that someone is impacted and can take away something.
Why this is important to me
I’ve been a part of various social justice workshops and events, but none of them were as inspiring and impacting as Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp. This experience was a pivotal point in not only my outlook on inequality, but my advocacy work. Something unique about Kapernick’s event was that it for black kids, by black people, and about the black experience in America. This was extremely empowering for me as a black woman and not only did the workshop have information tailored to my experience, but it brought to light issues of other minorities from all other walks of life. Social justice issues are not only important to me because I’m black and I have to deal with a lot of it personally (although that is a big reason), but because inequality impacts everyone whether you are the beneficiary or the target.
What I did
Recently, I co-leaded an equity and justice day in my highschool where I started with an assembly with everyone participating, explaining what we were embarking on for the next hour and a half. The assembly served as a primer, then after each grade level got dismissed to hallway for gallery walk, which consisted of various social justice statistics and facts being posted on the wall for people to read. After the gallery walk. people were assigned to groups where they participated in activities. The first activity was about building your identity with pipe cleaners and the second activity was a spectrum activity where you show your opinion on certain issues. We ended with reflection and feedback. This day went very well, but it took a lot of preparation! I had to get everything approved by the school administration, which resulted in a lot of tweaking and watering down. I had to train student leaders, put the entire high school into groups of 17-20 people, and buy supplies. This is what I did and now I want to help you do something similar in your community!
I used this image to introduce the concept of equity and explain the difference between equality and equity. According to Every Day Feminism, “Equity and equality are two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same.Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help.” This definition perfectly depicts the picture and gives people an easy definition to grapple with when beginning a conversation they might not have embarked on before.
This is something my school wouldn’t allow us to do, but I think it is very important and the concept is great. Even if you are not able to physically do this, the video is worth the watch and should definitely be shared with your audience.
What you can do
Since I had to document everything during this process, I used the work to make a blueprint for you all to use! It is an outline of the activities, the time frames I used, and exactly what was said to the participants. Of course, you can modify this to fit your school. I challenge you all to do something similar in your communities. I’m giving you all the tools, now run with it!
Gallery Walk Statistics: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Mz3y4S4Dt64xOVkUpmUrmWPpG9ezOkxrDpNBaSrWa4I/edit