RARE Hosts Workshop at TAF Convening

/ April 7, 2024

In February, Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity (RARE) appeared at the 2024 Network for Edwork Convening hosted by the Technology Access Foundation (TAF). This in-person convening took place over two days at the University of Washington. The event centered around the theme “Journey Towards Liberation” and aimed to educate attendees on ways to dismantle racist institutionalized structures. RARE had the opportunity to contribute to this theme by hosting a 90-minute workshop around racial equity.

The workshop began with a brief introduction by RARE members Joe Hunter, Jessamyn Reichman, and Leah Scott. RARE’s documentary film, Roosevelt High School: Beyond Black and White, was then shown to the 25+ workshop attendees and followed by an open discussion hosted by the RARE members.

The discussion powerfully examined how racism is sustained through culture and how the most significant barrier to progress can be found in our personal conduct. Reichmann said, “The integrity of any institution begins with its individuals.” From there, she shared that change begins by becoming self-aware of the ways that we contribute to institutionalized racism and suggested that disrupting our routine is the tool for dismantling it. In that process, we collectively begin to shift the culture of the communities that we reside within.

The conversation grew to ask attendees how race was constructed for them and their education’s role in cultivating that understanding. The crowd’s response was diverse, as there were parents, UW students, and administrators from all around the country. It was fascinating to collectively identify the similarities and differences in how racism was embedded in our everyday culture.

At this time, Hunter hopped into the conversation and shared his student experience as a participant in the Seattle Public Schools Voluntary Transfer program. This shifted the discussion to discuss the need for racial equity work and how it can become institutionalized. The hosts discussed RARE’s resources and how they could be utilized.

  • Sharing open-discussion videos with family, friends, and colleagues to escape communication silos
  • Engage with RARE’s Restorative Practice Committee to get connected to restorative practice resources
  • Host viewing parties for RARE’s documentary

Leah Scott gently guided the conversation to an end by encouraging folks to take the continuous posture as a student. Scott mentioned that there’s something to be learned in every attempt and that it ultimately informs us of the next step.