Our Racial Equity Commitment
Our education and other youth-serving systems are not equitably providing the supports and resources needed to help all young people achieve. The truth is that some young people need more because of the historical and structural systems in place that have perpetuated racism. Data on a variety of youth outcomes show us that racial disparities continue to exist.
At SOWA, we are committed to addressing how these disparities impact young people in our communities. We believe that access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities is essential for closing the opportunity gap and challenging inequity. We know first-hand from three decades of work in diverse communities how expanded learning opportunities can level the playing field. That is why we strive to increase access to quality programs for youth of color so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Our Statement of Solidarity
School’s Out Washington stands in solidarity with all those standing up in protest against anti-Black violence and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and too many others. At SOWA, we are called once more to fully engage in both self-work and organizational work to fight against racism and white supremacy. Both are critically important, and we are reminded of just how much work there is left to do. Read our full statement here.
What We've Done to Work Towards Racial Equity
Developing Training Modules on Structural Racism
In 2013, School's Out Washington received funding from the City of Seattle to develop race-based training opportunities for the staff of expanded learning opportunities. The result of that work was a group of trainings addressing Structural Racism and Cultural Competency. This included the Structural Racism workshop, which we offer for free multiple times per year. We also hosted a Training of Trainers session in 2016 were we instructed people from around Washington in giving this training.
See Current Structural Racism Schedule
Emphasizing Cultural Competency & Responsiveness in Quality Practice
Along with our partners in the field, we have released two documents that define what quality looks like in youth programing: the Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool & Youth Development Programs defines what a quality program looks like, and the Washington State Core Competencies for Child and Youth Development Professionals defines the skills and knowledge program staff need in order to provide quality programming.
In developing both of these documents, School's Out Washington worked to ensure that they recognized that quality programs respect and are responsive to the diversity of program participants.
Learn More About the Quality Standards | Learn More About the Core Competencies
Advocating for Racial Equity in Our Communities
We are focusing our advocacy efforts on closing the opportunity gap, and we believe a focus on racial equity is a critical strategy. We are committed to addressing policies and practices that perpetuate disproportionality and racial disparities.
Learn More about Our Advocacy Efforts
You can learn more about working towards racial equity from the many resources we've collected on the subject, or by attending a Structural Racism training. You can also contact Nerrisah Townsend if you are interested in having our trainers provide the Structural Racism training for your staff.
For more information about our racial equity commitment, contact Pang Chang, Refugee School Impact Program Director, or call us at (206) 323-2396.