Office of Strategic Partnerships: Racial Equity Guidance for Partners

Posted by School District of Philadelphia on July 14, 2020

The Office of Strategic Partnerships believes in the importance of acknowledging and working to dismantle structural racism through our work and the work of our partners. We believe that to do so requires continuous professional and personal reflection and action. Examining our biases and racialized perspectives is necessary work in every context, and the need for such self-awareness and cultural sensitivity is particularly essential for those working in a school district where the majority of students enrolled are students of color (85%).

The sources and impacts of racism stem from the actions – and sometimes inaction – of individuals and systems that reinforce white privilege and white supremacy. The dynamics of racism influence the structures and policies that surround us, and also the ways in which we see the world as individuals and the day-to-day interactions we have with others (e.g. interactions between partner staff and students). Consequently, the significant – sometimes life-threatening – effects of racism can impact our students on a daily basis, and can also influence how individuals and systems view and serve our students.

Because of this, we believe it is important for partners to not only be aware of these issues, but to take action by:

  • Designing programs based on perceptions of our students that are rooted in their potential and strengths, as opposed to racialized ideas/approaches/stereotypes.
  • Ensuring that voices of people of color are sought out and heard within your organization/program.
    • If you aren’t hearing these voices, consider why that may be. Seek them out.
    • Continue to ask and explore how your colleagues, parents, and students experience structural racism.
  • Hiring people of color and ensuring that they are not only employed in direct-service positions, but also leadership/decision-making positions within your organization.
  • Establishing and maintaining a diverse board of directors that reflects the community you serve.
  • Training and providing on-going support to staff on the topics of unconscious bias and antiracism.
  • Creating spaces for constructive and reparative dialog that establishes and enforces accountability for white staff and protects staff of color in voicing their perspectives and concerns.

We are deeply appreciative of your consideration of these dynamics as you continuously work to improve your programs and relationships with our students. Featured below are some suggested resources that may help you or your program infuse these concepts into your program design, implementation and staff professional development.

To learn more about our office’s strategic approach and initiatives for racial equity, visit our website here:

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