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Diversity Champions:

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday in Ballard Hall and online via Zoom. To those of you with 4-H, Open Campus and other conflicting meetings, THANK YOU for staying engaged by reading Chapter 3 of the book, this blog recap and engaging with other champions that attended the session. We started Tuesday’s session by using the homework assignment from our last meeting to talk about how important passion is to our work as Diversity Champions and then spent the rest of the meeting discussing Chapter Three of our CCAR Field Guide. The outline below provides a brief summary of the session.

Welcome and Introductions:
• For this meeting, we were joined by Marcianne Koetje, Equity and ELL coordinator for the Corvallis School District, who has been participating on our Diversity Champions team since our kick-off event at the Extension Annual Conference. Marcianne has been in education for over 15 years and has served as teacher, principal and coach in dual language schools. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and is passionate about the advocacy and empowerment of communities. Marcianne is currently a PhD student in the LEEP (Language Equity and Education Policy) program here at OSU.
• Reminder: Check in with your Courageous Conversations Compass during these conversations.
– If you are working in pairs or with a smaller group of Champions, consider designating one person to be the “compass enforcer.”
– Ana Gomez played this role during our meeting and reminded us that checking in with the compass will help us stay focused on our personal, local and immediate racial context. This is crucial to our Courageous Conversations practice because this is work from the inside out.
– The compass can be found on Page 29 of your Field Guide books. For practice, try making a copy and posting it in your office so you can check in with yourself throughout the day.

Homework Activity Review (Pg 31-33):
• We introduced the concept of Courageous Conversation as Utilizing the Protocol, (which is the 4 agreements, 6 conditions, and compass), to engage, sustain, and deepen interracial dialogue in order to examine schooling and improve student achievement.
• Defined “passion” as it relates to equity work: Without your passion, this work does not happen. Our Field Guide book and many of our team members describe passion as the cornerstone and driver of this work.
– What does passion mean to you? Did the homework assignment help clarify this for you?
– Compass check: What quadrants where you in when you completed last session’s homework?

Chapter Three:
This session was an open conversation with many of our team members sharing personal stories of success or discomfort in their different experiences. We encourage you to connect with other Champions to reflect on what you learned in Chapter Three: Why Race?
• We opened the conversation by asking, how have we been conditioned to think about race?
• We defined the following terms:
– Race: The socially constructed meaning attached to a variety of physical attributes, including, but not limited to skin and eye color, hair texture and bone structures. Often, the definition of race is tailored to benefit different purposes thorough history.
– Racism: The belief that one set of these physical characteristics is superior to another set.
– Racist: Any person who subscribes to the belief above and perpetuates them intentionally or unconsciously.
– Please note that these definitions are not exclusive or extensive. Refer to chapter 3 for further reference.
• A Success Story: The needs of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work are so great that it can be easy to get discouraged or feel like we could never make a difference. That is one reason why we are excited to share this story of success from our guest facilitator, Marcianne.
Five years ago, the graduation rates of Corvallis School District Latinx students were hovering around 50%. The district knew it needed a change and began sending teachers and staff to the Courageous Conversations Beyond Diversity workshops. These workshops, along with efforts to connect with families and create culturally relevant classrooms and curriculum, had amazing results that were felt throughout the community. Currently, over 500 teachers and staff have gone through the Beyond Diversity workshop and graduation rates for Latinx students are now above 80%! So please don’t lose heart, Diversity Champions. The passion you have makes a difference in your communities every day.

We talked about how relevant the Courageous Conversations protocol has been in creating a common language about race and allowing us to talk about it and its impact in education. Perhaps it is required to think, feel, believe and act differently to see different results like this (a close in the racial achievement gap).

See you on April 17 for our next meeting!
Homework: Journal on the following topic (this can be kept private, and you will not be asked to share if you are not comfortable):
Topic: Think of an experience when your racial consciousness was developed. Name and reflect on the discovery, then trace it through the stages outlined in the reading.
Reading: Please read Chapters 4 and 5 before this meeting.

Thank you again,

Ana Lu

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