Take Meaningful Antiracist/Antibias Action For Your Students
A group of Asian students received multiple insults based on rhetoric around COVID-19. A group of Black students is dealing with the impact of countless police brutality cases happening across the country. Students who are LGBTQ+ continue to receive anti-LGBTQ+ bullying at school. LatinX students are constantly told to speak English, or "learn the language, this is America!"
These everyday school incidents often leave educators and administrators wondering what can be done to protect their students, while teaching them how to effectively advocate for themselves and others.ENROLL TODAY!
Why Simply Creating a “Safe Space” is Not Enough
Today’s racial and social justice issues run deep in our society. While hanging an “ally” sign or designating a classroom a “safe space” may send a positive message, it’s no longer enough to meet the needs of students of color.
We need to empower students to use their voices in the name of social justice. Many of the students we work with have experienced microaggressions, discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes from their peers and school staff. The challenge is, they don't always know the terminology or ways to address these issues.
Many students from marginalized groups face challenges of articulating their mistreatment in a way that educates and informs. We empower students to self-advocate, become co-conspirators, and social justice leaders at their schools.
This is why we created our ten-part interactive program, The Advocacy Room: An affinity space for student voices. We can guide you in creating an atmosphere where your students’ experiences and sense of belonging are valued. We can help you go beyond creating a space where everyone feels safe.
The Advocacy Room is a virtual webinar/workshop series targeted at middle and high school students. It’s ideal not just for students of color, but anyone who wants to support their peers who may be facing discrimination within the school environment. The benefit is that students feel empowered to advocate for themselves and others, while helping develop a positive school climate where all students can feel respect and love.
While providing professional development for your staff on diversity, equity and inclusion is helpful, it doesn't ensure your students' experiences will change. Today’s social issues need to be addressed at a deeper level than that within our schools and classrooms. The Advocacy Room can help.
Why Social Justice Affinity Groups Are Essential
Having confidence in one's identity is not always easy when your identity is not part of the dominant group demographics. For some students, navigating a space in which school staff and classmates do not validate their lived experiences, may invoke silence, and feelings of oppression.
Students need to occupy spaces in which they are free to be themselves. Furthermore, these same students need to know that their peers and school staff accept them for who they are. That's why affinity groups are so important.
What Is a Social Justice Affinity Group?
A social justice affinity group is a group of students who share exclusion and isolation experiences because of their identity. Social justice affinity groups also include members willing to utilize their privilege in solidarity with members outside of the dominant school culture.
The Advocacy Room is designed to help you create an atmosphere where this type of unity is possible.
What You Receive From Our Program
The Advocacy Room is designed to help educators and students create a social justice affinity group within their school. Here is what you get when you enroll your organization in the program:
Ten interactive 90-minute sessions, including breakout rooms.
Practice with real-life scenarios and problem-solving skills
The Advocacy Room Student Playbook
The program is intended to be a school or a district investment, and purchase orders are available.
Let Us Help You Get Started
Understanding the challenges students face without having lived experience may be difficult for educators who want to support affinity groups. We’ll take your students through a journey of ten 90-minute sessions as part of the Advocacy Room program. Each session is created to provide education, dialog, and action-oriented results.
Students Will Participate In:
- An instructional lesson regarding terminology about social justice and advocacy
- Breakout rooms to further enhance engagement and understanding
- Scenarios based on real experiences that students face regarding racism and discrimination and how to handle these situations
- Work sessions that address the unique challenges at their schools and how to advocate for change
- Creation of a presentation to their school regarding the need for change
Below are some of the skills that teachers, administrators, and students will have upon completion of the Advocacy Room program:
- Identify microaggressions, privilege, racism, acceptance, and equity
- Articulate responses when experiencing injustice at school
- Develop a presentation and plan of action towards change at their school
- Support peers as co-conspirators in solidarity for social justice
Meet Your Facilitators
Dr. Sheldon Eakins
Sheldon L. Eakins, Ph.D., is the Founder of the Leading Equity Center. Dr. Eakins is also the host of The Art of Advocacy Livestream and the Leading Equity Podcast. Furthermore, Dr. Eakins is the author of Leading Equity: Becoming an Advocate for All Students. With over 15 years in education, he has served as a teacher, school principal, adjunct professor, and Director of Special Education.
Sheldon Eakins is passionate about helping educators accomplish equitable practices in their schools. He has earned a B.S. degree in Social Science Education, an M.S. degree in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in K-12 Education.
Darlene Reyes is a first-generation Salvadoran-American and graduate of Northwestern University. After college, Darlene became an AmeriCorps member for City Year, Washington, D.C. (CYDC), which motivated her to pursue a career in education.
She is a 2019 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellowship alumna, who was selected to conduct research on the Imposter Syndrome in Brazil within Higher Education. Her first language is Spanish, and she has a high proficiency in Portuguese.
Darlene is an advocate for educational equity. She remains passionate about holistic solutions for students of all backgrounds, especially students of color, first-generation immigrants, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Some of Our Partnerships
What Students and Staff Say
"The approach & interaction with our students are extraordinary. The students were not only engaged but felt empowered with your affirmation that adults do listen and respond accordingly. The students are always eager for future sessions."
- Brian Jones, School Social Worker, Murray Middle School
“I think these workshops were beneficial and helped me learn more about how I can be a better person in society, and how I can help others be better too. With that, we can make society a better place for those who are being affected by inequality.”
- Isaac, 11th grader
"I believe that these workshops were beneficial for me. The order of workshops really showed me how I could improve myself as an ally and as an advocate. The first workshops about implicit bias and privilege made me look within myself. Knowing who I am, and what I think, helped me understand what changes I need to make in my life. Then learning about microaggressions showed me how my attitudes have to change. And finally, talking about being an ally summarized how I should use these new skills and realizations to make a bigger difference. "
- Minta, 12th grader
“I do believe that I now have a better understanding of others as a result of these workshops. I think that once we feel educated enough, we begin to get comfortable. But these workshops showed me that I still have so much more to learn, and so many more areas of improvement. I feel like my understanding of people has grown as I have learned about more ways that they are affected along with more areas needing improvement on the social justice spectrum via these workshops.”
- Carmen, 12th grader
"I think these workshops were a way to provide easy retainable knowledge on such important topics that get easily looked over, while still engaging the audience and creating an enjoyable experience for not only yourself but your peers.”
- Darren, 8th grader
“I definitely would recommend this to my peers to learn or to improve on their knowledge.”
- Rosalinda, 12th grader
“I think every student and teacher in our school should do these workshops. It just helps a lot with perspective and helps to see why it matters to listen to the voices of others.”
- Kacy, 10th grader
“I would recommend these workshops to the rest of my peers to help them realize things like how I did. Hopefully, they'll want to be a better person, and one by one, we can help our society.”
- Angel, 9th grader
“These workshops were beneficial to me. I feel like I can better understand myself and others around me, and I know how to be a better ally, and how to support others in different communities than mine.”
- Tyson, 9th grader
“As a student of color, it made me aware of exclusivity of other minority groups and how minorities can come together to fight discrimination and help one another.”
- Jermaine, 9th grader
What Are You Waiting For?
Creating a "safe space" for students or putting up an ally sign above our classroom door is no longer enough to accommodate students. How do we create a brave space in which students feel empowered to use their voice in the name of social justice? Many of the students we work with have experienced microaggressions, discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes from their peers, or even the school staff.
The challenge is, they don't always know the terminology or ways to address these issues. Many students from marginalized groups face challenges of articulating their mistreatment in a way that educates and informs. We empower students to self-advocate, become co-conspirators, and social justice leaders at their schools.
Are you ready to transform the culture inside your school or your district? We're here for the kids, and we all have to recognize the importance of student empowerment. Enroll in the Advocacy Room today!
The Advocacy Room: An affinity space for student voices
Let us help you create and sustain an affinity space for your students.