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April 2019

Robin DiAngelo on Educators' "White Fragility"

When it comes to cultivating racial understanding, sociologist Robin DiAngelo believes that white people have work to do. In her best-selling book White Fragility (Beacon Press, 2018) , DiAngelo argues that no white person—no matter how well-meaning—is exempt from the forces of racism. Yet when the topic of racism comes up, they often become defensive and "weaponize" their hurt feelings. This refusal to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism blocks white educators from understanding the...

The Legacy of Freedom Writers; How Literature is Helping Children and Teens Find Purpose

If you have ever seen the movie Freedom Writers , you might have thought the story ended alongside the film. However, Erin Gruwell has grown the movement she began decades ago to reach beyond Los Angeles. Now, the Freedom Writers Foundation offers training, scholarships, and curriculum for educators and students in cities across the nation. Their main goal is to work with "unteachable students" and show them they are fully capable of pursuing a collegiate career. Many of these students come...

Skills Training at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute - there's still time to apply

The Summer Peacebuilding Institute , a program of EMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia, offers short-term, training courses on a variety of topics including trauma awareness, restorative justice, leadership, community organizing, racial healing, and many more. The Institute holds four sessions of courses, with four possible courses in each session. Trainings can be taken for skills enhancement or academic credit and run from May 13 to June 14, 2019. There is still room available in almost all...

5 Years after Flint's Crisis Began, is the Water Safe? [npr.org]

Five years ago, the drinking water source for Flint, Mich., was switched, setting the stage for the city's water crisis. In the years since, residents of the aging industrial city have seen their children's blood lead levels spike, government officials grudgingly admit mistakes and perhaps seen Flint begin to recover. It's still common to see claims on social media that Flint still doesn't have clean water. However, tests have shown Flint's tap water has improved greatly since the depths of...

LeBron James Opened a School that was Considered an Experiment. It’s Showing Promise. [nytimes.com]

The students paraded through hugs and high-fives from staff, who danced as Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” blared through the hallways. They were showered with compliments as they walked through a buffet of breakfast foods. The scene might be expected on a special occasion at any other public school. At LeBron James’s I Promise School, it was just Monday. Every day, they are celebrated for walking through the door. This time last year, the students at the school — Mr. James’s biggest foray...

Will Algorithmic Tools Help or Harm the Homeless? [psmag.com]

On any given night, more than half a million people in the United States are homeless. Many who lose their housing do so only briefly, but 40 percent become chronically homeless. Currently, many city's social service programs operate within a "progressive engagement" model that prioritizes providing aide—things like housing subsidies, behavioral services, and job training—to the people who have been homeless the longest. There's an obvious logic to this distribution method: People who have...

Farmers Wash Up ‘in a Fragile Place’ After Historic Midwest Floods (pewtrusts.org)

If you need help, call the 1-800-FARM-AID hotline. In the weeks after flooding drowned the livelihoods of families who’ve farmed along the Missouri River for generations, rural advocates in the Midwest began gearing up for another crisis. The devastating floods increased concerns about the mental health and well-being of farmers who already were struggling with yearslong economic uncertainty. Groups in flood-affected states such as Nebraska say they are preparing to provide mental and...

Just So We’re Clear: Black Mothers Aren’t to Blame for High Infant Mortality

Ina May Gaskin is often referred to as the “mother of modern midwifery.” But when Gaskin was asked at an April 22 birth seminar in Forth Worth, Texas, about the effects of systemic racism on high infant and maternal mortality, her response left many in the Black birthing community questioning her competence. “Drug overdoses, cause number three—that’s a biggie—and I presume these are illegal drugs. Not prescription drugs, but those are also going to be a problem,” said Gaskin, who then...

Can Opportunity Zone Tax Breaks Be a Boon for Charter Schools? [citylab.com]

For the fourth consecutive year, the growth of charter schools—publicly funded and privately managed schools that educate nearly 3.2 million students across the country— has slowed . Between 2017 and 2018, charter schools grew nationally by 1 percent, an all-time low for the sector. Charter industry leaders are debating the exact reasons behind the slowdown. Some say it’s rooted in school districts’ financial woes , which make leaders less inclined to open new schools that could strain...

When You Need to Slow Down But It’s Hard [blogs.psychcentral.com]

Productivity is so seductive. It feels wonderful to accomplish a task and check it off our to-do lists. It feels awesome to accomplish more than we even thought possible in a given day. Plus, there are many tasks that are non-negotiable. There are many chores that as responsible, mature, working adults we must do. Or many projects, that if not done today, just get transferred onto our lists for tomorrow. And then we’re behind. And then we’re scrambling. And what if we never catch up? There’s...

To Eliminate Racial Bias, Child Welfare Breakthrough Tells us to Try Colorblindness [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

A few times a month , in an unmarked white office building on Long Island, a group of Nassau County government employees discuss which children they should separate from their parents. The meeting involves a caseworker, supervisors and attorneys reviewing notes from the caseworker’s investigation into child maltreatment allegations against the parents. If the group makes the difficult decision that a child is not safe at home, the attorneys will drive to the county courthouse down the road...

Becoming a Trauma-Informed Organization to Meet the Needs of Increasingly Complex Clients in Child Welfare

FREE Webinar - Wednesday, May 22, 3:00-4:00 p.m., EST As more children receive community-based services, everyone agrees that the typical client in child welfare agencies has grown exponentially more acute and complex. Old models are not working and provider agencies are scrambling to manage and treat the extreme behaviors of youth in their care. Recognizing this fact, more and more states are mandating that child welfare agencies become trauma-informed. The state of California, for example,...

Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness (hbr.org)

"Close to 50% of people say they are often or always exhausted due to work. This is a shockingly high statistic — and it’s a 32% increase from two decades ago. What’s more, there is a significant correlation between feeling lonely and work exhaustion: The more people are exhausted, the lonelier they feel." "The social repercussions of this discomfort directly impact work productivity because people disengage. And both the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and the Gallup...

Claire’s Story: Family Meeting. Part 39.

By P. Berman, A. Hosack, & K. Hecht Claire was calm on the outside but feeling broken into a million pieces on the inside; would she shatter? She was sitting in her regular place on the sofa next to Mr. Carson. She had just tucked in a tired but hyperactive Davy into bed . He had managed to pull her shirt out of her pants and turn her hair into a bird’s nest . She didn’t know what the family meeting was for but was worried that Mrs. Carson had noticed something was wrong with her at the...

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