Written and originally posted by AFG member Simone Marean, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Girls Leadership
May 27th’s roundtable discussion on what schools can do to support the leadership of Black and Latinx girls was fire. If you missed out, the full recording is here. After letting the conversation soak in for a few days, these are our top 5 takeaways:
TOP 5 ACTIONS SCHOOLS CAN TAKE TO SUPPORT THE LEADERSHIP OF BLACK AND LATINX GIRLS
- Look at the curriculum. Does your school use books and stories that show Black and Latinx women leading in the world? This narrative of women of color as agents of change needs to be internalized across all subjects.
- Do the inner work. Ileana Jiménez said, “There are so few opportunities in anybody’s trajectory to do that self inner work on racial identity, gender identity, sexual identity, Whiteness, and we forget teachers need a space to do the work of critical consciousness, so they don’t cause harm to their students, especially students of color.”
- Give teachers the training and support they need. Ready To Lead report author Dr. Charlotte E. Jacobs shared that 30% of teachers are never taught to address gender equity or teach leadership. Ife Bell suggested we look at higher education where teachers and principals are first trained. Ileana asked, “How are White teachers really examining race and gender alongside each other?”
- Hire teachers who look like them. Ileana shared, “Black and Latinx girls are really looking for that mirroring for teachers of color … who will reflect back to them the kind of leadership that they can aspire to.” She went on to say, “It’s not just that teachers of color are in the building, it’s that they are doing something with students that makes a difference.”
- Create “ecosystems of belonging”. Ife reminded us of the institutional systems that need to be included in this work, asking us to look at if support for training is in the budgets. What percentage of the overall budget? Dr. Nadia Lopez reminded us, “Our children are impacted by every adult that they come into contact with.” This isn’t just about the teachers and principals, this is about the crossing guards, the people working in the cafeteria, and in the office.
Nadia summed up the urgency of this conversation with a call to action for each and every one of us: “I wish people had more audacity … I need the superintendent to take this seriously … We can’t do this another 10 years folks … Now is the time. Our girls are ready. Let’s get to it.”