How can we move past ambivalence in our diversity, equity, inclusion and justice work?

A Boston Globe Article this week highlighted a unique experiential learning program that started in 1971 called Sidetrack. This program was a partnership between the predominantly white suburban community of Lincoln, MA, and the predominantly black urban community of Roxbury. The program was comprised of two classes of 7th graders and each class would have 50 percent of its students from Roxbury and the other 50 percent of the class from Lincoln and the classes would each spend one half of the year in each of the two communities involved. 

Despite the fact that the program showed great promise, the critics won out and the program ended after a year due to a lack of enrollment of Lincoln students. As Peter Thomson, both the author of the article and a student in the program put it, “Sidetrack and its vision would get mired in suburban ambivalence and recede into history.”  He later adds, “The biggest challenge to school integration programs has always been getting white families and communities to buy in.”

What does an unwavering commitment to the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice work look like? I mentioned this last month and shared a t-chart from the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools on what this unwavering discourse sounds like between educators. I also wonder what this unwavering discourse sounds like and looks like in classrooms and among students, families, and community members…

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