Tag: Racial Equity

Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the past year, many amazing national and local activists, thinkers, and leaders have shared their knowledge, strength, and experiences. We have been introduced to new leaders, learned from experienced social justice leaders, and laid to rest leaders and community members who left us charged to do more and to keep working towards a better, more equitable today and tomorrow. 

This year, to honor the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, West Wind is highlighting a few youth activists, entrepreneurs, and scholars who have committed themselves to equity-focused causes within their communities. We have so much to learn from these young activists and the strategies they are using to create positive change.  Continue reading “Honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

In Solidarity

In Solidarity

Reading Time: < 1 minute

West Wind Education Policy is committed to disrupting historic and persistent inequities. We are deeply disturbed by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, as well as the ongoing violence toward the bodies and spirit of people of color.

We join the protests against the institutional, ideological, internalized, and interpersonal systems of oppression that have made this a centuries-long struggle here in the United States.

(For information about the Four I’s of Oppression, see https://bit.ly/3cynRQt and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WWyVRo4Uas.)

Understanding the School-to-Prison Nexus

Understanding the School-to-Prison Nexus

Reading Time: 4 minutes

At West Wind, we are examining a relatively new concept: the “school to prison nexus.”

Mass incarceration has been widely researched, with well-known analysts (Alexander, 2010) and documentarians (Duvernay, 2016) identifying ways that both formal and informal structures have contributed to an explosion of prisons and prisoners in the US.  The Sentencing Project finds that, “[t]here are 2.2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails—a 500% increase over the last 40 years. Changes in law and policy, not changes in crime rates, explain most of this increase.”  The Sentencing Project further finds that communities of color have borne the brunt of this explosion. “Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanic white men.” Continue reading “Understanding the School-to-Prison Nexus”

Working with Educators to Address Implicit Bias

Working with Educators to Address Implicit Bias

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Implicit Bias is more than just a hot topic that surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign. Implicit bias is real and it negatively impacts the lives of marginalized individuals every day across our country. The Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University defines implicit bias as ”[T]he attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.”[i]  Some of the key characteristics of implicit bias include that everyone has them; they are generally not an indication of our beliefs or our values; and they are malleable. Continue reading “Working with Educators to Address Implicit Bias”

A MLK Day to Remember

A MLK Day to Remember

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I hope you had a meaningful MLK Day yesterday!  We are proud that our very own Alecia Brooks was honored yesterday at the 1st Annual Stride Toward Progress Bell Ringing and Awards Ceremony here in Iowa City.  Royceann Porter, 2014-15 African American Achievement Award Recipient, took it upon herself to publicly acknowledge the hard work and spirit of service among black leaders in Iowa City.  She identified over 150 community members to honor!  We prepared certificates of acknowledgement and gratitude and Royceann worked with a local vendor to get T-shirts for all of the award recipients.  It was inspiring to meet so many committed Iowa Citians! Continue reading “A MLK Day to Remember”

2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service

2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service

Reading Time: 2 minutes

MLK_2015 “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding  will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

              — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

This Monday communities will come together to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to take part in service to others in the name of justice and equality.  This past year we have continued to see prejudice and injustice spur fear and divide our communities.  We have also seen strong black leadership across the country and in our own communities speak out to guide us toward justice. Continue reading “2015 Martin Luther King Day of Service”

Marking the One Year Anniversary of Our Local Equity Report

Marking the One Year Anniversary of Our Local Equity Report

Reading Time: < 1 minute

One year ago today, the Coalition for Racial Justice released the report, Racial Equity in Iowa City and Johnson County.  This report was a major impetus for the partnership we have developed with Diversity Focus, so that we might address some of the challenges described within.

Our very own Alecia Brooks wrote an op-ed to mark the occasion, which was published in our local newspaper today, All residents deserve an equitable chance to thrive.

I hope you will join us as we embark on the exciting work ahead to ensure our community is inclusive and responsive to all!

West Wind and Diversity Focus to Partner for Educational Equity

West Wind and Diversity Focus to Partner for Educational Equity

Reading Time: 2 minutes

West Wind Education Policy and Diversity Focus announce a new partnership, The Creative Corridor Center for Equity.

We invite you to collaborate with us!

Our communities have experienced tumultuous change in the past decade as our population has diversified, we weathered the 500-year flood, and we strive to bring 21st century practices to an effective 20th century education system. The Creative Corridor Center for Equity was created to develop a systematic, collaborative approach to overcoming challenges in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor. Through partnerships that extend north to the Cedar Valley region and on to Minneapolis, MN, we expand the networks, time, talent, and treasure to support our youth here at home. Continue reading “West Wind and Diversity Focus to Partner for Educational Equity”

Local Activism for Equity

Local Activism for Equity

Reading Time: 2 minutes

CRJ imageThere is an exciting movement under foot in Iowa City, as residents across our community–diverse by race, geography, culture, language, income, and wealth–join together to approach the Iowa City Community School Board tonight.  Earlier in the year, the Calendar Committee, appointed by the superintendent of schools, presented a school year calendar to the school board, which included holding school on the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.  The idea was that the schools would engage in a “Day On” and take part in the national day of service.  However, the calendar committee, the school board, and the superintendent did not realize the sacredness of this holiday for many in our community and the many activities already planned to honor Dr. King and the thousands who worked–many who worked in grave danger–to right the injustices of racism.  Members of our local Coalition for Racial Justice, the Center for Worker Justice, and community residents are asking the school board to reconsider their decision to go with the calendar committee’s recommendation. Continue reading “Local Activism for Equity”

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