Equity Conversation Guides Serve as Timely Resource in Current Moment

Posted June 30, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Guides help facilitators lead conversations with young people about systemic racism

The protests against police bru­tal­i­ty and sys­temic racism have ampli­fied the need for com­plex con­ver­sa­tions about racial inequity in pub­lic sys­tems. To help, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Equi­ty Con­ver­sa­tion Guides for Young Lead­ers and Part­ners pro­vide step-by-step instruc­tions for facil­i­ta­tors to lead groups of young peo­ple in under­stand­ing the his­to­ry of struc­tur­al racism and how it oper­ates today.

In this moment, we must use our indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive pow­er and respon­si­bil­i­ty to dis­man­tle these struc­tures so that all young peo­ple can tru­ly thrive,” says Leslie Gross, direc­tor of the Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive®.

When young peo­ple are giv­en the space to learn, engage and con­nect with oth­ers who have a shared sense of pur­pose and com­mu­ni­ty, change hap­pens,” Gross con­tin­ues. It is clear that these dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions must still be had, and actions must still be tak­en. This move­ment is being led by young peo­ple. And I hope that these guides will inspire more of them to become the lead­ers dri­ving real change with­in their communities.”

The Equi­ty Con­ver­sa­tion Guides — devel­oped in part­ner­ship with Jim Casey Young Fel­lows, NOX­TIN, the W. Hay­wood Burns Insti­tute and Fos­ter Youth in Action — pro­vide tips on how to cre­ate spaces that fos­ter con­ver­sa­tion and engage­ment that fuel action around advanc­ing racial and eth­nic equi­ty. The four guides include:

  • Under­stand­ing the Basics: Core Con­cepts and Terms
    This doc­u­ment intro­duces foun­da­tion­al knowl­edge about the rel­e­vant con­cepts for advanc­ing equi­ty and inclu­sion. Learn­ing these key con­cepts in peer groups facil­i­tates deep­er dis­cus­sion, intro­spec­tion and crit­i­cal think­ing, allow­ing lead­ers to apply their under­stand­ing of equi­ty from per­son­al expe­ri­ence to their work toward sys­temic change.
  • Dig­ging Deep: His­tor­i­cal Con­text of Child Wel­fare Systems
    While the his­to­ry of racism in the Unit­ed States began with the arrival of col­o­niz­ers and the exploita­tion of Indige­nous pop­u­la­tions, this doc­u­ment takes a look at how racism has oper­at­ed in the child wel­fare and youth jus­tice sys­tems from the 1600s through today. To engage in lead­er­ship and advo­ca­cy in mean­ing­ful ways, it is crit­i­cal to under­stand the con­text of child wel­fare sys­tems and how var­i­ous poli­cies and prac­tices can affect chil­dren and fam­i­lies differently.
  • Dis­cov­er­ing Self: Iden­ti­ty and Culture
    Root­ing action and lead­er­ship in advanc­ing racial and eth­nic equi­ty is deeply per­son­al work that requires trust­ing rela­tion­ships and safe space to process new infor­ma­tion and reflect on our own per­son­al jour­neys. Con­ver­sa­tions about iden­ti­ty with young peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care are often very nuanced. Many young peo­ple are ground­ed in cul­ture and com­mu­ni­ty, while oth­ers may feel dis­con­nect­ed from their roots and their sto­ry. This guide is designed to enable facil­i­ta­tors to explore these com­plex themes in a strengths-based envi­ron­ment with young lead­ers and advo­cates who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care.
  • Shar­ing Pow­er: His­to­ry and Con­tri­bu­tions of Orga­niz­ing in the Con­tin­u­um of Youth Engagement
    Under­stand­ing the his­tor­i­cal con­text of youth lead­er­ship and advo­ca­cy allows young peo­ple to ful­ly appre­ci­ate the influ­ence they can have, and the polit­i­cal dynam­ics involved in advo­ca­cy. This con­ver­sa­tion guide pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn about the cen­tral role that young peo­ple have played in sys­tems change through an equi­ty and inclu­sion lens.

After intro­duc­ing the core con­cepts, facil­i­ta­tors are invit­ed to work through the guides in a way that makes sense for the group.

Explore the Equi­ty Con­ver­sa­tion Guides

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