In August, Community Center for Education Results, the backbone organization for the Road Map Project, welcomed Fa’izah Bradford in a newly created role to lead the initiative’s efforts to address systemic barriers to racial equity. Read Fa’izah’s statement below to learn of her commitment and connection to the Road Map Project region.
I joined CCER as the senior director, strategy for racial equity impact — a role created to intentionally expose and address systemic barriers to racial equity — in an effort to achieve our regional goal of eradicating opportunity gaps. Though new to my position in the organization, I am not new to this region or to this ongoing resolve for racial equity. My first place of advocacy and action has been as a parent, navigating the same bureaucratic and racist systems that shaped and formed me, and that I now work to reshape and transform. In addition to my personal proximity to experiencing racial inequities, I have worked fluidly in and around several Road Map Project school districts and educational nonprofit organizations, including my current election to Highline Public Schools as a school board director.
The Road Map Project’s vision to ensure every child — particularly children of color and children experiencing poverty — thrives in their education, communities, and life, is deeply aligned with my purpose and core values. I’ve joined CCER now, because of its anchored commitment to center the leadership and efficacy of students and families, and its unapologetic stance to lead with race, decenter whiteness, and combat anti-black racism in a true effort towards racial equity. I believe CCER is a place I can greatly contribute to, and genuinely learn from, in service of student achievement and success.
2020 has provided the unique opportunity for collective focus and collaborative impact. While quarantined in our homes during a global pandemic, our nation watched the heinous murder of George Floyd. His life was one of many that have been stolen by civilians and police officers, who have been, and continue to be, protected by a racist system. Nationwide, we began to see with greater clarity, the patterns of racial injustice, anti-black racism, and the intentionality of struggle, disparity, oppression, power, and privilege perpetuated by white supremacy weaving throughout every institution. In turn, we must be intentional in our efforts to dismantle systemic racism and combat anti-blackness, pervasive in every educational and social structure. To achieve education equity, we must boldly center those who have been historically pushed furthest from opportunity.
So how do we advance racial equity in our region? We move forward strategically and with intentionality. We first recognize that we ourselves are on a journey to becoming anti-racist, both organizationally and as individuals. We must be willing to lead the way and model what courage and vulnerability looks like. We must examine and interrogate our own internal policies, practices, and processes. We must be willing to share and shift power structures and redistribute resources into the hands of the beloved community. We must center students, families, and communities as the architects in imagining and designing an equitable and just system.
The process and journey of achieving racial equity is messy, nuanced, and nimble work. It will require a continuous commitment to unlearn, learn, and relearn. If we do it right, it will be an uncomfortable challenge, yet it will become catalytic towards real and sustainable change. I’m so excited to work alongside brilliant colleagues, community leaders, partners, and everyone who has a stake in improving education outcomes in our region. I’m excited to lead, model, and follow. Never has an opportunity felt so urgent, so right, and so possible.
Senior Director, Strategy for Racial Equity Impact, CCER
(Photo credit: Mel Ponder Photography).
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