Racial Equity Coalition

Fostering Love And Liberation Within Our Communities

When it comes to educating our children, particularly those of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) backgrounds, culture and community must go hand and hand with curriculum. There is a growing movement to incorporate more racial, ethnic and cultural offerings in the everyday learning process, and in Washington state it comes at a time when, for the first time, more than half of the students in public schools are of color.

At United Way, we believe schools must adapt their learning environment to ways that now fit their student bodies. Each Racial Equity Coalition member is providing an after-school program that addresses the uniqueness and challenges of BIPOC students and their communities.

A Drexel University School of Education report on the importance of diversity and cultural awareness says that students from all backgrounds benefit from such curriculum, adding that those who learn about different cultures during their education feel more comfortable and safer with these differences as adults.

The Goal of the Racial Equity Coalition

The Racial Equity Coalition (REC) is a self-formed group of 14 BIPOC organizations funded by United Way of King County. Each member of REC has launched its own after-school program to reinforce cultural identity by immersing students in lessons rooted in their own races, ethnicities and heritage. REC believes the program will foster love and liberation for BIPOC youth by cultivating a love for community, curiosity and learning, and a liberation from a traditional education curriculum that often marginalizes BIPOC cultures. REC understands students who see themselves and hear their stories in their education curriculum are more likely to stay engaged and remain on a path to success.

The 14 organizations that comprise the Racial Equity Coalition

The Formation of the Racial Equity Coalition

The coalition was formed as data revealed what organizations who embrace multicultural learning already knew: All students who receive multicultural education perform better in the classroom than those who don’t—not just youth of color.

A Holistic Approach

REC believes that cultural offerings at school must not be extracurricular activities like band or theatre; they must be rooted in every aspect of the school curriculum, from what is taught to who is teaching it, so that students from different backgrounds learn about their history and culture at the same time as learning about the three R’s and the sciences.

REC members include El Centro de La Raza, the Seattle-based civil rights organization grounded in the Latino community that builds unity across racial and economic sectors. El Centro de La Raza has helped school districts with translation as well as lessons centered on students’ culture and backgrounds, so that what is being taught in school mirrors that which is being taught at home, and vice versa. Due to the popularity of the program, El Centro de La Raza now serves districts in South and East King County.

All students who receive multicultural education perform better in the classroom than those who don’t—not just youth of color.

El Centro de La Raza and other REC members are located in BIPOC communities. They are close to the youth they serve because they’re from the same culture. Coupled with a passion for bringing out the best in our youth, REC members offer an approach to learning that is both educational and fun.

Examples of Racial Equity Coalition Work

Red Eagle Soaring uses storytelling, drama and theater work with Indigenous youth. Stage productions support youth access to the healing power of Native cultural traditions, promoting social, physical and intellectual engagement.

4C Coalition’s Wellness Mentoring Circles bring youth and mentors together utilizing a structured, community-building curriculum facilitated by the Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement.

All Girl Everything Ultimate Program (also known as AGE UP) is an ultimate frisbee program that partners with Seattle schools to teach players about leadership skills, social justice, oppression, classism, sexism, and racism and the intersectionality of their identities with sports.

Falis Community Services hosts a youth training program suited to the backgrounds, languages and cultures of immigrant families. The certification program includes training in leadership, problem solving, drop-out prevention, and communication between parents and youth.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families serves BIPOC youth with disabilities to celebrate intersectional neurodiversity and build self-advocacy skills.

Community Passageways creates programs that help youth avoid incarceration while building communities and forging relationships centered on love and compassion.

Working Together

REC members support one another and share best practices to build villages for the youth they serve. REC members recognize the interconnected issues that their BIPOC communities face. And as a coalition they have they formed a powerful organizing tool for change that can impact each individual community and people of color as a whole. REC groups also see their organization as a model on how all BIPOC communities should support one another and offer support in areas such as building capital campaigns, developing culturally responsive housing and owning buildings.

Impact of the Racial Equity Coalition

Join Us in This Effort!

Education begins with family and community. Investing now in a multi-racial, multicultural education system ensures that we will have doctors, artists, teachers, engineers and lawmakers of all backgrounds to serve an ever-changing populace.