Open Discussions

Past Discussions

School-to-Prison Pipeline within Seattle Public Schools

School-to-Prison Pipeline within Seattle Public Schools

Monday, January 29 — 5:30 pm

Meeting length — 90 Minutes

Mark your calendar! We invite you to a special meeting hosted by RARE and the Seattle Council of PTSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. This will be an insightful discussion on racial equity, featuring esteemed speakers dedicated to addressing the complex issue of the school-to-prison pipeline within Seattle Public Schools.

As addressed in the ACLU, “To understand how some of our most vulnerable kids end up in youth jails and prisons, we must first understand the systems that criminalize students, especially in our public schools.”

Join us for an evening of meaningful dialogue, shared experiences, and insights that will inspire change. Your presence and perspective are invaluable as we work towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Guest Speakers:

  • Sharonda Williams, Principal at Interagency School
  • Lamaria Pope and Johnny Walker Jr., Program Managers at Choose 180
  • Molly Mitchell, Director of Student Support Programs at Seattle Central College
  • Dana Brown, Private Attorney in Seattle, Juvenile Defense Specialization
  • Moderated by SPS Kingmaker Trevon, UW Student and Kingmaker Alumni

Register in advance for this online meeting.  Note:  All times are Pacific Time Zone.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please let us know of any accommodations we need to provide, such as language access, when you register.

Let’s build bridges, share knowledge, and empower each other to create positive change.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The State of Racial Equity in Seattle Public Schools

The State of Racial Equity in Seattle Public Schools

Monday, September 18 — 5:00 pm

Join us on Monday September 18, 2023, 5 PM Pacific Time, to learn what programs are in place in several Seattle Public Schools to address racial equity.

Principals from both north end and south end schools will share what programs they have in place to mitigate racial inequity, what challenges they’ve faced and are anticipated, as well as success stories that have enhanced the educational value of their students.

The evening will be moderated by Rena Mateja, an award-winning philanthropist and humanitarian since the age of seven.  She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and is currently a student at Seattle Central and is a community advocate, activist and nationally certified circle keeper.   She is a former member of the NAACP Youth Council and a Board Member of the SCPTSA.

Rena advocates for student rights and ethnic studies so all students feel safe, loved, respected and heard in all learning spaces. In addition to her work at systemic levels, Rena advocates for policies and laws to reflect the needs and demands of communities that are silenced and overlooked.  She also teaches these practices to other youth, so they too can fiercely advocate for themselves and others to create an anti-racist system.

Click here to register in advance for this meeting.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

John Houston, Principal Whitman MS

Tami Brewer, Principal, Roosevelt HS

Corey Eichner, Principal, Lincoln HS

Ivory Brooks, Principal, Rainier Beach HS

Mixed Race Students And Adults – Their Paths Travelled

Mixed Race Students And Adults – Their Paths Travelled

Monday, May 1 — 5:00 pm

The Open Discussion Committee identifies speakers, panelists, and moderators to address topics consistent with RARE’s Mission Statement: “We advocate for racial equity for students who are furthest from educational justice. We raise awareness among students and those who impact their lives about educational inequities through partnerships, networks, and inclusion-centered practices. We promote actionable steps by providing tools, resources, and opportunities to learn and grow”.

Our next event will be on May 1, 2023, at 5 PM Pacific Time, where we listen to panelists of different generations share their stories of growing up mixed race. Our Moderator is LeiLani Nishime, a professor of Communication at the University of Washington and the Grants Manager of the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. Her research interests are Asian American Media, gender, and technology. Her book, Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture is published by University of Illinois Press.

Our panelists include three generations of mixed-race POC who grew up in the Seattle area. Join us for this learning experience.

ZOOM Link:

Meeting ID: tel:7783458583
Password: 6CL8GB

Of One Blood – The Racial Equity and Inclusion of a College Like No Other

Of One Blood – The Racial Equity and Inclusion of a College Like No Other

Monday, June 20 — 7:00 pm

Educator, VP for Alumni, Communications and Philanthropy, Dr. Chad Berry of Berea College in Kentucky presents:
Of One Blood – The Racial Equity and Inclusion of a College Like No Other. Monday, June 20, 2022, 7pm.

Join RARE to learn about Berea College, the first integrated college in the southern US.  It began in 1855 when the Rev. John G. Fee began a one-room school advocating for equality and excellence in education for people of all races.

When the school opened in 1855, its first teachers were recruited from Oberlin College, an anti-slavery stronghold in Ohio.  The constitution of this new school furnished work for as many students as possible.  Not only did this help the students to pay their expenses, but it also dignified labor at a time when manual labor and slavery tended to be synonymous in the South.

By 1859 Rev. Fee and the Berea teachers were driven from their school by Southern pro-slavery sympathizers.  At the end of the Civil War, Fee returned, having raised funds for the school during the war years.  In the 1866-67 school year there were 187 students:  96 black students and 91 white students.

The 1904 Kentucky Legislature passed the Day Law which prohibited education of black and white students together.  In response, Berea established the Lincoln Institute, a school located near Louisville for black students.  When the Day Law was amended in 1950 to allow integration above the high school level, Berea was the first college in Kentucky to reopen its doors to black students.

Today Berea is repeatedly named as the number one regional college in the South by U.S. News & world Report.  Full-tuition scholarships are provided to all students.

Dr. Chad Berry, VP for Alumni, Communications and Philanthropy will provide an understanding of the values, and objectives of Berea College started by the Rev. Fee 167 years ago.  Learn of the obstacles and challenges of the landscape in providing a quality college education to people of color in today’s world.

Suggested pre-reads:

Berea College

Berea College in Appalachia Charges Students Nothing but Expects Great Things in Return

Asian American Challenges Focus of May Open Discussion

Asian American Challenges Focus of May Open Discussion

Monday, May 30 — 5:00 pm

Please join RARE’s open discussion session on Monday, May 30 at 5 p.m. for a panel discussion on the Challenges of Asian Americans. Panelists will include Teshika Hatch, Robin Uchida Lange, and Allan Bergano – all members of RARE’s board of directors – and Roosevelt parent Jenny Wu. They will share their lived experiences as Asian Americans along with the rich history of Asian immigrants and their progeny in America, their fight against stereotyping and racism, the recent rise in hate crimes against Asians, and other challenges of systemic racism and oppression faced by the Asian community.

Our discussion will also highlight historic and foundational work the Asian community is doing to address these issues, while striving toward racial equity, racial solidarity, and humanity for us all.

Click here to view a flyer about the panelists.


No History, No Self Know History, Know Self

Paul Horiuchi

Educator and Educational leader Tori Hazelton

Educator and Educational leader Tori Hazelton

Monday, April 25 — 7:00 pm

Tori Hazelton is an experienced educator and educational leader. She was fortunate to enjoy a sixteen-year career teaching multiple secondary subjects with progressive leadership roles before moving to coaching role at the regional level where she supports districts in systemic change. Throughout her career, Tori had the opportunity to develop and present various staff professional development. She is a doctoral candidate at Lewis and Clark College in an educational leadership program focused on racial and social justice. Tori’s dissertation research is on exclusionary discipline in schools and teacher/admin prep programs.

Topic: Exclusionary Discipline

Definition: Exclusionary discipline encompasses any type of school disciplinary action that removes or excludes a student from his or her usual educational setting. Disparities in the use of exclusionary discipline can lead to a school-to-prison pipeline for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.


How Exclusionary Discipline Creates Disconnected Students

For those who wish to dive deeper into this issue, Tori recommends these paperbacks:

Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment in our Schools: A Handbook for Parents, Students, Educators, and Citizens by Ayers, Dohrn, and Ayers

Pushout by Monique Morris

Cherry McGee Banks Speaks on Lift Every Voice and Sing

Cherry McGee Banks Speaks on Lift Every Voice and Sing

Monday, March 28 — 7:00 pm


Educator Cherry McGee Banks will talk about Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the Black National Anthem, at RARE’s March 28 Open Discussion Session. The online event starts at 7 p.m.


Professor Banks is a founding faculty member in the School of Educational Studies and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, Bothell. In 1997, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington, Bothell. In 2000 she was named a Worthington Distinguished Professor and in 2013 she was named a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Her research focuses on intergroup education and the role that public school educators played in linking schools to communities and helping students and parents appreciate diversity and embrace democratic ideals.

Professor Banks has contributed to such journals as the Phi Delta Kappan, Social Studies and the Young Learner, Educational Policy, Theory Into Practice, and Social Education. Professor Banks is associate editor of the Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, co-editor of Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, co-author of Teaching Strategies for the Social Studies and author of Improving Multicultural Education: Lessons from the Intergroup Education Movement. She has also served on several national committees and boards including the American Educational Research Journal’s editorial board, the Board of Examiners for the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the AERA Books Editorial Board. At the local level she is a member of the Seattle Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, the University of Washington Retirement Association Board, the Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and a past president of the Greater Seattle chapter of the Links, Inc. In 2021, she received the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Alpha Omicron Boule.


The sacramental pull of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ the ‘Black National Anthem’ — An article by Eric T. Styles provides a good overview of the song and its meaning in the African American community.

“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing”—A Powerful Anthem with an 120-Year History — An article by The National WWII Museum. This anthem was sung by African Americans fighting fascism abroad during World War II and the during continuing the struggle for social justice in the United States.

Black National Anthem — Words and music on

Erin Jones — Educator, Activist and Author

Erin Jones — Educator, Activist and Author

Monday, February 28 — 7:00 pm


Educator, author, and activist Erin Jones will join RARE’s Open Discussion session on Monday, February 28 at 7 p.m.

Jones has been involved in and around schools for 30 years. She has taught in a variety of environments, from predominantly Black schools to predominantly White schools to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. Erin received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007, while teaching in Tacoma and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008 while teaching in Spokane. She received recognition at the White House in March of 2013 as a Champion of Change and was Washington State PTA’s Outstanding Educator in 2015.

After serving as a classroom teacher and instructional coach Jones worked as an executive for two state superintendents. She left the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012 to work in college-access at the school district level. She left her job to run as a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and was the first Black woman to run for any state office in Washington state, a race she lost by a mere 1%.

Jones is the author of Bridges to Heal US: Stories and Strategies for Racial Healing, published in July of 2021.

RARE’s monthly Open Discussion sessions are free and open to the public.

Discussion Topic

The Bridges to Heal US: Stories and Strategies for Racial Healing


  1. Community Agreements: Co-creating Classroom Expectations


Documentary Premiere — Roosevelt High School: Beyond Black & White

Documentary Premiere — Roosevelt High School: Beyond Black & White

Monday, January 31 — 7:00 pm

50 Years Later, Seattle Still Struggles with Race & Diversity

Learn how we can do better in this documentary about race and education, using the students and alumni of Roosevelt High School as an example.

Dr. Quintard Taylor, Professor Emeritus, Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History

Dr. Quintard Taylor, Professor Emeritus, Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History

Monday, November 8 — 7:00 pm


Quintard Taylor is an historian, author, and website director. From July 1, 1998, until June 30, 2018, Taylor was the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle and as such he held the oldest endowed chair at the University. He is now retired and holds the title, the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor Emeritus.

Taylor and other volunteers created an online website resource center for African American history called The center houses 8,000 pages of information and features contributions by 1,000 academic, independent, and student historians from six continents. It is now the largest reference center of its type on the Internet.
Read More about Quintard Taylor

Discussion Topic

What Is Critical Race Theory?

Over the past twelve months Critical Race Theory (CRT) has emerged as one of the most contentious issues in American society. In fact, the Republican Party has concluded that opposition to CRT is one of the half-dozen issues that will generate for them a GOP majority in the 2022 Congressional Elections. While many people have strong views in support of or opposition to Critical Race Theory, most Americans including those who hold those views, have little knowledge of its true meaning or its history.

Dr. Quintard Taylor’s presentation to RARE on November 8 will discuss the history of Critical Race Theory and of how this concept, formerly reserved for debate among law professors and their students, has suddenly become the topic of intense acrimonious conflict over the education of students in public and private schools across the nation. His talk is designed to describe the debate, not determine if Critical Race Theory is a helpful tool in addressing racial inequity in American society. Dr. Taylor believes that is a decision every person in the audience must make on her or his own.


Ask Bruce Harrell & Lorena Gonzalez Your Questions About Racial Equity in Seattle

Ask Bruce Harrell & Lorena Gonzalez Your Questions About Racial Equity in Seattle

Monday, October 11 — 7:00 pm

Bruce Harrell 7:00 – 7:40 PM

Bruce Harrell was born in 1958 in Seattle to an African American father who was one of the first Black union linemen at Seattle City Light, and a Japanese American mother who had been incarcerated at Minidoka during World War II and worked for the Seattle Public Library. The Harrell family lived in Seattle’s redlined Central District, where Bruce graduated from Garfield High School in 1976 as valedictorian of his class.
Read More About Bruce Harrell

Lorena Gonzalez 7:45 – 8:25 PM

M. Lorena Gonzalez is a member of the Seattle City Council in Washington, representing Position 9 At-Large. She assumed office in 2016. Her current term ends on December 31, 2021. Gonzalez is running for election for Mayor of Seattle in Washington. As one of two at-large (citywide) representatives and the first Latinx elected to serve the Seattle City Council, Councilmember M. Lorena González has over a decade of experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate.
Read More About Lorena Gonzalez

Discussion Topic

As candidates for Mayor of Seattle, both Bruce Harrell and Lorena Gonzalez will be discussing their views on racial equity and the opportunities within the City of Seattle.


  1. My mother knew the trauma of anti-Asian hatred in the land of her father’s dreams


RARE, as a non-profit charity, does not support or oppose individual candidates running for public office. RARE invited both candidates for Mayor of the City of Seattle to speak to our group for educational purposes. Both candidates will be given equal time to speak and field questions.

Technology Access Foundation (TAF) STEMbyTAF

Technology Access Foundation (TAF) STEMbyTAF

Monday, September 13 — 7:00 pm


TAF is a Seattle-based nonprofit leader redefining K-12 public education throughout Washington State. By using STEM as a tool for social change, TAF implements a 360-degree approach that transforms classrooms and schools into equitable anti-racist learning environments where all students, teachers, and leaders in education can thrive. Featured speakers from TAF include:

  • Maribel Valdez-Gonzalez, STEM Integration Transformation Coach
  • Heather Lechner, Executive Director of Education
  • Krishna Richardson-Daniels, Director of STEMbyTAF at Washington Middle School
  • David Goldenkranz, Ally Engagement Program Manager

Discussion Topic

Redefining Public Education: The How and The Why
Technology Access Foundation (TAF) aims to promote social change throughout public education and corporate industries by breaking down barriers to high-quality STEM education for students furthest from educational justice. By discussing how public school districts, local governments, and companies can actively participate in creating a more equitable education system, TAF challenges us all to change the culture of education to ensure public education serves all students through anti-racist practice and pedagogy.


  1. Amazon Awards TAF $150,000 to Fund New Initiative to Sustain Retention of BIPOC Educators Across Washington State
  2. Inside the Journey to Justice: Building an Equitable Public System Together
Dr. Alex Manning, Assistant Professor, Hamilton College

Dr. Alex Manning, Assistant Professor, Hamilton College

Monday, August 16 — 7:00 pm

Meeting length — 90 Minutes


Alex Manning grew up in Seattle, Washington and graduated from Garfield High School. He completed a B.A. in sociology from Howard University in 2011. Alex continued his education and earned his PhD. from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2019.  Dr. Manning previously taught at Jacksonville University, in Jacksonville, FL. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hamilton College, in Clinton, NY. Dr. Manning teaches the following sociology courses: Racism and Race in the United States; Sports and Society; Race, Gender, Abolition, and Restorative Justice; Introduction to Sociology; and Senior Projects/Thesis.

Discussion Topic

The role of youth sports in the struggle for racial justice: a sociological perspective.

Dr. Manning’s research explores the dynamic collisions among racism, inequality, families, youth, sport, and culture. He is specifically interested in how racism structures youth sports and other extracurricular activities, and how youth, parents, and coaches experience and make sense of race in their own lives. His work has been published in a variety of academic journals and edited volumes, such as the Du Bois Review, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociological Perspectives, European Journal for Sport and Society, and Child’s Play: Sports in Kids’ Worlds. He is in the process of developing a book from his dissertation about US youth soccer culture and its implications regarding race, class, gender, youth, and parenting.


  1. Race, Sport, and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora by Ben Carrington 
  2. Youth Sports Inc. HBO Real Sports w/Bryant Gumbel
  3. What’s Behind The Racism at Youth Sports Events? by Bob Cook

Additional Reads

  1. The Heritage by Howard Bryant
  2. Child’s Play (eds. Mike Messner and Michaela Musto)
  3. The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee and Changing the World by Dave Zirin 
Dr. Kyle Kinoshita, Retired Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, Seattle Public Schools

Dr. Kyle Kinoshita, Retired Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, Seattle Public Schools

Monday, July 19 — 7:00 pm

Meeting length — 90 Minutes


Dr. Kyle Kinoshita is a longtime Seattle resident (Rainier Beach, ’71) and member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).  He retired in 2019 as Chief of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction from Seattle Public Schools, and has been a K-12 educator in the Puget Sound area. His undergraduate degree was in ethnic studies and since then has long been interested and involved in issues of racial equity.


To get a deeper understanding of the steep escalation in the last year and a half of hate and bias against Asian Americans in the U.S.


Dr. Kyle Kinoshita will initiate a conversation on the upsurge of anti-Asian hate incidents that has erupted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  He will give a brief history of Asian Americans that will explain the roots of the narrative fueling the anti-Asian hate manifesting itself in the numerous attacks.


  1. A short article on Asian Americans’ reluctance to go back to in-person learning.
  2. A chapter from a book that deals with the “model minority” myth.
Dr. Brent Jones, Seattle Schools Superintendent

Dr. Brent Jones, Seattle Schools Superintendent

Monday, June 7 — 5:00 pm

Meeting length — 45 Minutes


Brent Jones is interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. He is a graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School and the University of Washington. He received master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served in executive positions with King County, Seattle Colleges, Kent Public Schools and Green River College. This is his second stint with the Seattle Public Schools.

Discussion Topic

Dr. Jones wants to create conditions for students to thrive. Racial equity is high on his list of priorities and that’s no coincidence. He was formerly the chief of equity, partnerships and engagement for the district.  In his discussion with RARE, Jones outlined his top priorities.

Brandon Hersey, VP Seattle School Board

Brandon Hersey, VP Seattle School Board

Monday, May 10 — 5:00 pm

Meeting length — 90 Minutes


Brandon Hersey is vice president of the Seattle School Board, a second-grade teacher in Federal Way, and a scout master for the only black scout troop in Seattle. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was named a Truman Scholar. His master’s degree in Education is from the University of Washington.

Discussion Topic

Hersey shared his priorities for Seattle Schools, including retaining Black male teachers, improving student outcomes, and teaching history that includes the stories of all Americans. He also challenged Seattle’s reputation as a liberal city where race is concerned.

Kristina Rodgers, Principal Roosevelt High School (former)

Kristina Rodgers, Principal Roosevelt High School (former)

Monday, March 15 — 5:00 pm

Meeting length — 90 Minutes


Kristina Rodgers is the former Principal at Roosevelt High School, recently ending her four-year tenure. She was previously assistant principal there for seven years and served as athletic director at Ballard High School. She also taught Spanish at Ballard and Evergreen high schools. She will join Bainbridge Island High School in the fall.

Discussion Topic

As Principal of Roosevelt, Rodgers had to diffuse racial discord in the majority White school and has worked to change the school’s reputation as an unfriendly place for students of color. That involves both learning and “unlearning,” which she explained in her conversation with RARE members.