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Leadership and Race Report WebinarThis is a featured page

This webinar was based on the recently released report How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice. Here is more information about the report:

Leadership programs can help solve racial inequalities in access to education, healthcare, income and wealth, but many current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. The report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that a large number of leadership programs associate leadership with equal opportunity and individualism. This thinking does not recognize that current systems (i.e. policy, culture and institutional practices) can cause racial identity to limit one’s access to life opportunities. It also focuses too narrowly on changing the behavior of individual leaders. Instead, leadership programs should: 1) make their programs more accessible for people of color; 2) help participants understand how race limits the access to opportunities – in other words, the impact of structural racism; and 3) promote collective leadership. This approach will help participants work together to tackle the systems that maintain racial inequalities.

Date: 9/28/10
Hosted by the Leadership Learning Community and the International Leadership Association



Check out the recording here!

Some Questions from Participants
  • What is the role of professional development in fostering racial justice among education leadership? What are the current thoughts around what kinds of professional development are effective?
  • How do we erode institutions such as tenure in higher education that seem impervious to change although many of us view them as inherently racialized?
  • What are your opinions on the use of the word "tolerance" in schools to teach about equity and discrimination?
  • I work for a board that is racially, ethnically, gender and education diverse. But what happens is that each one ends of advocating for its own agenda. Does this contribute to structural racism?
  • How do the recommendations apply in particular to a) youth leadership and organizing and b) leadership within k-12 schools?
  • How do we educate our board, our stakeholders to understand and be motivated to continue doing this work for the long term? Especially given competing priorities, uncertainty and change in the environment. Should we be educating our organization as a piece of this work and investing the money into doing this? How can funders understand this?
  • What are the applications of this work to Higher Education, specifically to that of the identity development of college students as they are learning how to be advocates for themselves and others?
  • What is a good position for white allies to occupy, especially when they are hired into organizations to be a leader in racial justice work?


We identified some organizations that are currently leveraging (or planning on implementing) some of the strategies indicated in the Leadership and Race report, such as incorporating an analysis of structural racism and having open conversations about race with participants. If you are a leadership program interested in implementing some of the recommendations from the report, the following examples may be useful: Note: Help us build this valuable resource by sharing other examples, ideas and tools. Please contact us.

Understanding Structural Racism

  • Racial Justice Leadership Initiative (RJLI)
    • Launched by Applied Research Center in 2002
    • RJLI trainings provide participants with practical tools and tips to sharpen their analysis, skills and strategies for addressing structural racism. Unlike “diversity trainings” which primarily focus on interpersonal relations and cultural awareness, the racial justice trainings focus on systemic racial inequality. The trainings not only equip leaders with the consciousness to recognize and challenge racism, but also with the skills to develop proactive proposals, messages, alliances and strategies to advancing racial equity.
    • Currently, they provide in-person trainings, some webinars and teleseminars, and strategic coaching by phone. In the coming year, they will offer online trainings and downloadable content. They currently do not sell or share curriculum.
    • More info: www.arc.org 212.513.7925
  • The Greenlining Institute:
    • The mission of the Greenlining Academy is to empower a new generation of leaders to advance racial and economic equity and create positive social change
    • “In our leadership development work, we are always striving to implement best practices. This report offers compelling evidence for the need to incorporate a structural racism framework into our leadership training. Moving forward, we are going to emphasize systems thinking and analysis in our curriculum so that participants can learn strategies to address structural racism. This knowledge is going to help us train our participants to better serve low-income communities.” (Danielle Trimiew , Academy Director, The Greenlining Institute)
    • More info: www.greenlining.org 510.926.4001
  • The National Equity Project
    • The National Equity Project (formerly known as the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, or BayCES) coaches people to become the leaders who make good on the promise of a quality education for every child. The Project works with school, district, and nonprofit partners to build the necessary culture, conditions, and competencies for vulnerable students of color to achieve excellence and equity.
    • Their “Leading for Equity” initiative helps school, district and nonprofit teams to address underlying issues of belief, commitment, will, and relationships to make progress in their racial equity efforts. Participants report deep transformations in their understanding of structural racism and other biases on education policies and practices, and in their ability to move equity to the center of planning and practice.
    • In “Equity by Design” programs, the project supports school and district redesign efforts to better serve vulnerable communities of color. Services include educator and parent school design team training and coaching, listening campaigns, and data-based equity analysis. In Oakland, the Project (as BayCES) supported the design of over 30 new small schools to better serve students of color, an initiative that is widely viewed as the largest and most successful community-driven school district reform in the country.
    • The Project’s “Teaching for Equity” programs coach educators to develop learning partnerships with their vulnerable students to focus school efforts on what students are learning and need to progress academically rather than on simply teaching and testing a set curriculum. This program includes coaching in cultural competence so that educators better understand the needs and experiences of students of color in a context of structural racism. The program has seen promising academic progress in only two years.
    • The Project also supports community wide efforts to end racial disparities in education and related outcomes. They are a lead agency in the Oakland Promise neighborhood effort, and facilitate multi-sector initiatives nationally that involve building the capacity of local leaders to facilitate community conversations among diverse constituents and take actions that address structural barriers to racial equity.
    • For more information visit www.nationalequityproject.org 510.208.0160

Talking Openly About Race

  • Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR)
    • The LDIR program makes racial justice an explicit and active commitment. The program trains participants in leadership skills that support structural equality and community-building.
    • LDIR creates an environment that promotes open conversations about race and helps participants understand their own racial identity. This affects how they conduct community work and gives them more confidence to address issues of race.
    • More info: www.ldir.org 213.241.0216

Promoting Collective Leadership

  • Leadership in Action Program (Annie E. Casey Foundation)
    • “We think that collective leadership can be the vehicle to accelerate the achievement of a result. The Casey Foundation’s Leadership in Action Program is an example of leaders “in the middle” aligning their actions in such a way that they are able to accelerate the achievement of a jointly agreed upon result. And, because we know that racial disparities exist in the outcomes for disadvantaged children, families and communities, leaders have to be able to see and talk about those disparities in very honest ways – the ability to have effective dialogues about race, class and culture is a true leadership skill, and one that we focus on in Casey’s results-based leadership work.” (Barbara Squires, Director of Leadership Development, Annie E. Casey Foundation)
    • More info: www.aecf.org 410-547-6600

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