The purpose of this resource is to provide educators with the tools to face racism, talk to students about racism, and become allies in racial equity spaces. You will notice that the content on this site lives beyond just a list of hyperlinked artifacts. It was important to the Office of Equity Affairs to situate these tools in a broader historical, social, and political context so that educators gain a full understanding of the resource’s utility.

Please know, talking about race and racism can be a sensitive subject that evokes intense emotions. But don’t let that be a reason to walk away from this important national conversation. Instead, we urge you to consider norms, strong scaffolds, connections to academic content, and deeper national/historical context while planning for courageous conversations about race to help students better understand the world around them. As always, feel free to reach out to OEA for any additional support needs.  Onward!

Facing Racism

Racism is a difficult topic to address. Among the primary reasons that racism frustrates even the best-intended people is that it has become a norm in our country not to talk about the social context of race. Many would rather stay silent than risk offending someone or becoming a target of abuse themselves. We’ve likely all been bystanders at one time or another when a friend or family member uttered a racist or racially offensive statement. It can be extremely uncomfortable.

So what should you do if you want to respond to racism but aren’t sure how?  Well, the first step is meaningful self-reflection about your views and understanding about race and racism. Below are a few resources the Office of Equity Affairs uses to assist educators with self-reflection and creating racially affirming classroom environments.

“To feel is the most fundamental human desire. Yet, we are consistently punished for expressing our feelings and desires.”

Patrisse Cullors

Artist - activist - cofounder #Blacklivesmatter

Talking to Students about Racism

Any educator who has practiced more than 5-minutes understands they can be thrust into current events at a moments notice. This moment in history is one of those times. Educators should not assume all their students are aware of the concepts of race and racism and how the social and political context informs the world around them.

Today, it is impossible to shelter students from the collateral consequences of the well-publicized killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and the many others before them. And to be sure, students shouldn’t be sequestered from the realities in which they will live, grow, and lead. Educators play a critical role in helping students navigate the maze of understandings around race. Below are a few resources that can assist with affirming our students so they are not left to navigate their feelings alone.

A Call to Action: The importance of addressing race and racism with our students cannot be overstated. Before diving into the next set of resources, take a moment to review this video, which gives insight about race and racism from a child’s perspective. Reflect on the implications of this video for teaching, learning and creating equitable classroom environments.  

Resources for Talking to Students about Racism

Teaching Young Children about Race: A Guide for Parents and Teachers
By Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards


Adults sometimes ask: Aren’t prejudice, discrimination, and anti-bias adult issues? Why bring children into it? In one sense, these are adult issues. Adults have the power to create, to teach, to maintain bias—and to eliminate it. In another sense, because the realities of prejudice and discrimination begin to affect children’s development early, it is developmentally appropriate to address them in our work with young children.

Resource Link

10 tips for teaching and talking to kids about race

by EmbraceRace with MomsRising


For this resource, EmbraceRace partnered with MomsRising to create 10 tips to guide children through conversations about race early and often. This is accomplished by lifting up age-appropriate activities that can be incorporated easily into daily life. These tips provide much-needed support for adults committed to building tolerance, racial equity, and a social culture where all kids and families can thrive!

Resource Link

10 Consejos Para Enseñar y Hablar a Los Niños Acerca de La Raza

by EmbraceRace with MomsRising

Para este recurso, EmbraceRace se asoció con MomsRising para crear 10 consejos para hablar y guiar a los niños través de conversaciones sobre la raza temprano y con frecuencia. Esto se logra haciendo actividades apropiadas segun la edad del niño que se pueden incorporar fácilmente en la vida diaria. ¡Estos consejos brindan el apoyo que tanto necesitan los adultos comprometidos con la creación de la tolerancia, equidad racial y una cultura social donde todos los niños y las familias puedan prosperar!

Resource Link

Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations About Race and Racism
by ADL


As a society, public discussions about race and racism have increased in volume and intensity. Educators feel a sense of responsibility to bring these topics into their classrooms—because young people want to be part of the conversation and should be. If handled effectively, these discussions provide opportunities for timely learning.  This resource highlights a number of important considerations on which educators should reflect.

Resource Link

Supporting Kids of Color in the Wake of Racialized Violence: Part One

by EmbraceRace


This resource by EmbraceRace is a live conversation from July of 2016 in the immediate aftermath of the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and 5 Dallas police officers. They convened by phone and over 700 people joined the call. For this conversation, EmbraceRace co-founders Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud frame and moderate a discussion between child psychologist Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, educator Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, and a group of parents, teachers, and other caregivers concerned about black and brown children.

Resource Link

How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help

by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich


This is the world that we inhabit; we talk about needing to talk about race without ever actually talking honestly about race. I believe that it’s vital that we help our children (and ourselves) walk and talk in a way that clears that air and breathes new life into these conversations and our world. Sharing stories, real, fictional, our own, and others’, is a powerful tool for that purpose. Here are a few resources and books to help us have those hard conversations with the young people in our lives.


Resource Link

Talking to Kids About Racial Violence
by Haig Chahinian


In this article, Haig Chahinian reached out to experts who help teenagers and parents make sense of violent racism and work toward something better. Enclosed is some of the wisdom they offered.

Resource Link

Estrategias para que los padres comiencen a conversar con sus hijos sobre la raza.

Resource Link

Millbrook High School Students Confront Racial Bias

Young people have an important role in confronting racism and prejudice. They often bring a voice of moral clarity to these complex issues.

In the following video, some members of the Millbrook High School student government share an excellent example of what it means to live-out our core beliefs of valuing a diverse school community that is inviting, respectful, inclusive, flexible, and supportive. What starts here changes everything!

Social Movement Music

for this moment in history

Art and music play an essential part in social movements and span many genres. The social movements that protest songs have influenced in the U.S. include the abolition movement, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and the 1960s counterculture, among many others. Protest songs are often situational, expressing opposition to injustice and support for peace, or free thought.

John Forte’s "Shame Shame"

Musician John Forté continues the long tradition of connecting the arts to social movements in his new song, "Shame Shame" that honors the death of George Floyd. We hope this song moves you to action as much as the OEA Team!

Keedron Bryant "I Just Want to Live"

A 12-year-old gospel singer has emerged as a powerful voice for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.  Keedron Bryant’s protest anthem with the chorus “I just want to live” quickly made the rounds on social media as demonstrations exploded nationwide over the death of Floyd.

Becoming an Ally

In the Fight Against Racism

So what does it take to become an ally? In racial equity circles, ally is typically considered a verb where one needs to act as an ally, and cannot simply bestow this title on themselves. The actions of allies must challenge institutionalized racism by calling out and dismantling racist policies and practices wherever they exist. Allies constantly educate themselves and build trust through consent and being accountable – this means not acting in isolation where there is no accountability.

Below is a three-step process the Office of Equity Affairs uses to assist educators with self-reflection and becoming racially affirming allies.


Understanding Privilege

Learn to recognize privilege and how to utilize social capital to promote equity and social justice.

The Late Late Show Unpacks Privilege

In this clip Late Late Show writer, Olivia Harewood, and host, James Corden, use a comedic script, which is quite instructive, to unpack social privilege.

Reference: https://bit.ly/30fMmzt


Do’s and Don’ts of Allyship

Educators must understand the do's and don'ts of allyship as to not cause more harm than good.


  1. Take on the struggle as your own.
  2. Stand up, even when you feel scared.
  3. Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
  4. Acknowledge that while you, too, feel pain, the conversation is not about you.

Reference: Guide to Allyship

Franchesca Ramsey on what to do!

Check out this video by Franchesca Ramsey’s for more information on ways of being an ally.


Robin DiAngelo on what not to do!

In the following short video clip Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism", discusses the don’ts of allyship.


Identify Accountability Partners

Racial equity work is challenging. Accountability partners will push you forward when you feel like taking a step back.

Accountability partners are coaches that help us keep our commitments. The Office of Equity Affairs recommends that racial equity accountability work happen in small groups where members have similar goals. There is often a group leader who coordinates the calls/meetings. Members provide guidance on goals in a structured environment.

Here are a few steps to keep your racial equity work moving forward.

Choose your racial equity accountability group wisely.
The right partners will determine your accountability success. Select partners who are as committed as you, has similar values, can be available when you are available, and are genuinely interested in helping you succeed. It’s important that partners communicate in a way that is similar to you, and you must trust that they have your best interests at heart.

Know what you need.
Racial equity accountability must be tied to specific outcomes. We can’t expect to expand our understanding if we have undefined goals.

Make the work of your group a priority.
When committing to an accountability partnership, it's not just about you. It's about the group. It's important to establish core values and honor a structure.

Prioritize your group’s racial equity goal-setting activities.
It's great to have goals, but execution is what matters. Discuss often how group members are progressing toward their goals and help each other problem-solve when necessary.

Social Movement Terminology

Distinct terminology often emerges from social movements. Much like protest songs, these terms become artifacts that serve to build cohesiveness and clarity of message. Terminology also is situational, expressing opposition to injustice and support for peace, or free thought.

"No justice, no peace"

The idea that as long as injustice prevails, acting peacefully is a moral impossibility

"I Can’t Breathe"

The last words of Eric Garner when he was killed by police officers by putting him in a chokehold while arresting him in the New York City borough of Staten Island on July 17, 2014. Ironically these were the same last words uttered by George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota when a white police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. “I Can’t Breathe" has became the rallying cry for protests fighting over-policing in the U.S. and across the globe.

"Black Lives Matter"

A political and social movement originating among African Americans, emphasizing basic human rights and racial equality for black people and campaigning against various forms of racism. Abbreviations: BLM, B.L.M.

"Hands up, don't shoot"

A rallying cry and gesture that began after the August 9, 2014, shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The phrase implies one has their hands in the air, an indication of submission, and is not a threat to law enforcement.

"Say HER Name"

This refrain originated as a collective commitment to honor women unjustly killed by law enforcement officers. The mantra takes on special significance because it recognizes how popular media historically underreports the pain and suffering of women in the United States.

"Forward Together, Not One Step Back"

An incantation that framed the spirit of the “Moral Mondays” gatherings at the NC General Assembly, which drew thousands of weekly protesters, more than 800 of whom were arrested for engaging in mass civil disobedience. Rev. William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement, often could be heard leading the chant, “Forward together, not one step back!”


Some of the most frequently asked questions of OEA

There are many opportunities to get involved with racial equity work. In the Office of Equity Affairs, we take an inside-outside approach. The inside approach means investing in yourself to expand your racial equity lens. The outside approach means connecting with someone who is firmly rooted in racial equity work that serves as a guide and mentor. Our office can help you build your inside-outside plan. Just reach out. We would love to speak with you!

Schedule a 1:1 time with a member of our team for a coaching and planning meeting. Consider your site context, SIP or department goals, and professional development plans so that equity can be a comprehensive approach rather than a side project.

Actually, studies show that kids are able to identify race as early as three months. Expressions of racial prejudice and bias peak at around age 5. But spending as little as one-week having explicit conversations with kids age 5-7 can dramatically improve their racial outlook.

Aside from the ableism in this statement (there are many people who are actually color blind), saying you are “color-blind” in terms of race negates/dismisses people of color and their identities. It is much more powerful to state that we see people for who they are, including all of the brilliance and struggles that go with their race.

It depends. We all come to racial equity work from different paths and experiences. The Office of Equity Affairs typically recommends resources according to the OEA Knowledge and Skills Continuum, which is outlined below. Feel free to reach out to the OEA team. We are confident that we could recommend quality resources for your racial equity journey.

OBLIVION – I have no knowledge of what this this topic or subject means.

AWARENESS – I’ve heard about this topic or subject and know what it means.

UNDERSTANDING – I know about this topic or subject and can talk about it with others.

APPLICATION – I regularly apply the learning from this topic or subject in my practice.

TEACH/COACH – I am capable of presenting this to others.

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
– James Baldwin

Contact OEA

OEA is available during our weekly office hours June 18-30, 2020 (Tuesday’s and Thursday’s) 1PM-3PM.  We would love to hear from you!