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Advocacy Tools: Ways to Engage, Train, and Center Community Voices in Advocating for Educational Equity

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From simple daily interactions to deeper and deliberately planned conversations, advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion means walking the talk at every opportunity. But that can be easier said than done. 

While everyone recognizes that poverty, racism, and a lack of power held by communities undermines children’s education and development, the reality is few people know what to do about it.

A growing number of researchers, including Harvard’s Mark Warren and Karen Mapp, authors of “A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform,” argue that “community organizing represents a fresh and promising approach to school reform as part of a broader agenda to build power for low-income communities and address the profound social inequalities that affect the education of children.”

Warren and Mapp support this view by showing how organizing groups build the participation and leadership of parents and students, so they can become powerful actors in school improvement efforts.

By working together to raise awareness for the importance of educational equity in the communities we serve, we can identify new ways to foster collaborations between educators and community residents.

Additional Resources:

“The Community Engagement Guide” from PolicyLink contains concrete recommendations and conversation guides for engaging with communities.

“Social Service and Social Change: A Process Guide” from Building Movement Project explores the drivers of the conditions that create the need for their  services, and to develop ways to address those drivers, even as they continue to deliver services.
 

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