EEC, in collaboration with the Racial Equity Team, has launched a community-centered learning series on important issues in race and education.
Lunch and Learns are a monthly event hosted in our beautiful building in White Center (SKC) on community-identified issues – such as diversifying the teacher workforce, implementing restorative justice, and understanding the intersection of mental health and racism. The outcomes and goals of Lunch and Learns are to increase the understanding of, and power in the educational system for parents, families, and communities of color; also to develop equity-based solutions to community-identified issues, and to strengthened movement to end racism in the public educational system.
The majority of communities engaging with Lunch and Learns are communities of color – Black, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous/Native, Middle Eastern, Immigrant, and Refugee. Our audience consists of parents, educators and low-level school administrators, community activists and community-based organization staff, principals and superintendents, and school board members, state representatives, judges, and other elected officials. About 20% of folks who participate in Lunch and Learns are White and identify as allies involved in the educational system (teachers, policymakers, etc.) who want to use their privilege to undo institutionalized racism.
Lunch and Learns are important and timely because Washington has one of the largest and most persistent opportunity/achievement gaps in the US, and communities of color are fed up with White-led solutions. Communities of color, from weathering institutionally racist educational systems, clearly understand the problems and solutions, but need the space, resources, and trust to enact their vision – EEC’s Lunch and Learns fill those needs.
Lunch and Learns are also deeply connected to the larger educational landscape. EEC has brought in a variety of community leaders of color to collaborate with our participants around the opportunity gap. Through Lunch and Learns, EEC has built relationships with: Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT WA), Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Seattle Community Police Commission, Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS), Diversity Center at UW Bothell, ACLU, Equity and Inclusion Office of State Board of Technical and Community Colleges, Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS), White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA), Seattle Indian Health Board, Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators (SABSE), and UW Native American Advisory Board, to name a few.
Not only is each Lunch and Learn addressing a racial equity issue, but each event is clearly facilitated and organized by women of color, visibly led by a Director and Board of color, features majority POC panelists, and intentionally includes voices from communities most impacted.