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5 Considerations for an Anti-Racist LGBTQ+ Affirming School

lgbtq+ affirming Dec 09, 2021

I was recently in a meeting with an education organization that I’m consulting with as they begin a new LGBTQ+ initiative. The grounding question was about why we do this work, what brings us to this initiative. Everyone has a story or two, a neighbor, a friend, a student who you never forget. I loved listening to their stories, their connections, their passion, their mix of frustrations and joy. And I also struggled a little with how to answer this question for myself. 

As an LGBTQ+ and Equity consultant, I do this work for the teachers, family members, and administrators who have come to me over the years asking for support, resources, strategies; they have the want, but need the how or they need help bringing other people into their why. They need support to have difficult conversations on why this work is important, conversations that keep the focus on equity and justice that is integral to their schools’ mission. All of my work for schools and with teachers and...

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Not Your Algorithm's Winter Gifting Guide: 6 Ways to Disrupt the Capitalist-Fueled Holiday Buying Frenzy

Uncategorized Nov 24, 2021

We’ve all done it. Opened a gift we didn’t really want. Enthusiastically said, “Thank you” and then held onto it for the amount of time we deem necessary to assuage our guilt about throwing it out.

Ya’ll! This process is exhausting.

Not only does it require the mental energy of keeping track of--or even moving to a new apartment with--these items that we do not want or need. But, it also involves time and energy to try to find these things a new home or figure out the right way to dispose of them (but for real, what am I supposed to do with batteries?!).

Even when we donate these things or pass them through our local “Buy Nothing” groups, we know that ultimately, these unloved items will end up in a landfill, seeping toxins into the earth, contributing to the end of life as we know it (not being dramatic, this is science)!

To help avoid this capitalist-fueled cycle of waste, our team sat down and pulled together some of our favorite ideas...

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Developing an Anti-Racist SEL Framework: Some Questions for Consideration

Uncategorized Sep 29, 2021

"Learning is an emotional experience, and there is no reason to avoid such emotions." -Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed 

Growing interest in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in education reflects an acknowledgment of the ways that a student’s learning is intricately tied to their social and emotional worlds. Our Anti-Racist SEL approach honors the ways that student’s learning is also impacted by positionality, power, and history.

While some SEL programs aims to separate or “sanitize” SEL from the work of anti-racist liberation (and therefore risks becoming, in the words of Dr. Dena Simmons, “white supremacy with a hug”), we believe that SEL must be not aligned with anti-racist goals, but imbued with an anti-racist practice. 

We offer some questions below for reflecting on your educational community’s current cultural approach to social emotional learning and how you might move it towards anti-racism. 

Do our students feel...

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Critical pedagogy and Latinx Heritage Month

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2021

Critical pedagogy and Latinx Heritage Month by Mary T. Perez 

Websites offering resources for Hispanic Heritage Month often focus on celebration. As the National Archives puts it: “We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.” It’s true that there are many achievements and contributions from Latinx people that go unnoticed in the public eye and need to be celebrated.

But, as critical, anti-racist educators we recognize that such celebrations can reify stereotypes, focusing on single stories without considering fuller socio-historical contexts. How can we employ our racial literacy skills to examine power structures that marginalize many Latine communities? 

As we think about Latinx Heritage Month from a critical, anti-racist educator perspective we are reminded to push against the accumulation of knowledge. Feminist scholar, Chandra Mohanty,...

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When We Cause Harm: A Framework

when we cause harm Mar 17, 2021

When We Cause Harm: A Framework 

by Ashley Y. Lipscomb 


“I want to know the Love way of rising up, fully alive from the depths within me, letting this new way of life reshape my way of seeing. -Morgan Harper Nichols


We all have been socialized in a world that is not loving at its core. We have ingested the harshness of intersectional oppressive systems that refuse to allow humanity to flourish in all of its goodness. Therefore, harm is inevitable. As we do this unlearning work together, it is important to establish a culture of love, repair, healing, and joy in your classrooms and schools. 


I have been in situations where white persons have tried to apologize for some sort of mistake. They unburdened their guilt, tears, shame on me and asked that I “teach them” about their mistakes with my own trauma and heartbreak. No more. I developed this framework that serves as an entry point. Not an end all be all. Adapt this for you....

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Lipscomb Highlighted in The Journal of College Admission

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2021

This week, Institute Co-Founder and CEO Ashley Y. Lipscomb's original roadmap for Addressing Trauma in the College Essay Writing Process was featured in the NACAC Journal of College Admission. 

Originally created as part of The Institute's ground-breaking course Shifting Narratives Toward Healing: Disrupting Trauma Exploitation in the College Admissions Process (available with sliding scale pricing), the piece delves into the nuances of this important process. 

If you are asking students to write about their own lives in any way, this guide will help you ensure that you are doing so in a trauma-informed, anti-racist way.  

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How to be Anti-Racist in the Application Process a Conversation with Sydney Montgomery

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2020

Recently our CEO, Ashley Lipscomb was in conversation with Advisory Council member Sydney Montgomery. Watch the conversation HERE and learn how to combat systemic racism in the college/law school application process as an applicant, as an educator, and as an institute for higher education.

Topics covered include the first steps to becoming anti-racist as an educator and a school district; advice for applicants on writing on trauma in their personal/diversity statement; and the importance of mental health and self-care for underrepresented applicants.

Subscribe to Sydney's youtube channel for more videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV0s... 

Mentioned Resource: We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, Dr. Bettina Love (https://www.amazon.com/Want-More-Than...)

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Arts Partnership Opportunity

Uncategorized Oct 06, 2020

Epitome of Soul, one of The Institute for Anti-Racist Education's founding partners, is currently offering Virtual After-School Arts Programming to students across the country! The Arts & Soul After-School Club offers students ages 7-14 high quality virtual dance, drama, and visual art classes. 

To learn more, please visit the Virtual Arts & Soul After-School Club page on Epitome of Soul's website. 

Epitome of Soul is a non-profit founded by Nailah Butler, who recently appeared in our panel: The Transformative Power of the Arts in Anti-Racist Education. Nailah has long been an advocate for ensuring that every child has the opportunity to access high-caliber arts programming. She currently serves as an Advisory Council member for The Institute for Anti-Racist Education, advising on anti-racist arts programming in schools and districts across the country. 

 Nailah Butler

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The Transformative Power of the Arts in Anti-Racist Education

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2020

This week, The Institute for Anti-Racist Education, will be hosting three renowned arts educators who are working to transform the landscape of education utilizing an anti-racist lens. 

Join us October 1, 2020 at 7pm EST for what is sure to be an incredible night of hope and inspiration as we discuss The Transformative Power of the Arts in Anti-Racist Education.

Scroll down to learn more about each of our speakers. 


Purpose of the panel: 

Art is a powerful tool for healing, grounding, expression, creativity, and innovation. Yet, it is usually the first resource to go due to budget cuts and art courses and programming are traditional white-centered. This panel will explore how different forms of art and expression can be used as a catalyst for educational justice and transformation. 


About the Panelist: 

Nailah Butler serves as Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of arts nonprofit Epitome of Soul, Inc., an organization focused on bringing...

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4 Trauma-Informed Educational Practices Teachers Can Use In the Midst of the Pandemic

Uncategorized Sep 03, 2020

By Taylor Stewart, MDiv, MA

September 4, 2020


More than 60% of students in the U.S. have experienced trauma by the age of 16. Trauma can include but is not limited to: physical and sexual abuse, racial trauma, dating violence, natural disasters, war, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. It can be acute, chronic, or complex. Regardless of the type or frequency of trauma that a student experiences, it can have many negative impacts on their educational experiences and academic performance.


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and senseless racial violence and injustices, it is crucial that educators implement trauma-informed pedagogical practices in their classrooms. As many schools begin this academic year via remote learning or re-opening their doors in the midst of pandemic, implementing these trauma sensitive practices is even more paramount. Below are four trauma-informed educational practices that teachers can use within their in-person and/or online...

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