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“It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education.” - Nelson Mandela 

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”
- James Baldwin  

DAY 2: BARRIERS TO ACCESSING EDUCATION

Good morning! If you missed the Day 1 Challenge email yesterday, click here!

For decades, marginalized students have encountered almost insurmountable barriers to access the education they deserve. This has lead to disparities in the quality of the schools they attend, academic resources at those schools, after school and summer enrichment opportunities, and college and career readiness. Ultimately this causes long term harm to the health, workforce advancement, and financial stability of our community. 

The resources provided today will give you the opportunity to reflect on inequalities that have shaped our education system. As you explore, allow yourself to reflect on whether you experienced similar educational disparities and if "overcoming" those barriers might have been more or less challenging depending on your race, gender, ability, socioeconomic status, or other identities.

READ

- “Opinion: We Can Help Low Income-Students, First-Gen Students and Students of Color Succeed in College, But Not Without Support” - The story of Edward Blanco, a child of immigrants from Guatemala, facing various obstacles on his path to college.

- “Attending School At A Fast-Food Spot: 12m US Students Lack Internet A Year Into Pandemic” - Learn about the technology divide faced by many families.

- "Students with Disabilities Aren’t Faring Well During the Pandemic" - Stories of thousands of special ed students missing an excessive amount of schooling because of remote learning challenges.

LISTEN

- “What Makes Us Human? Segregated Education” - A brief overview of the inequities that continue to present themselves, how the wealthy remain at a benefit and how these effects intersect with race. (5 minutes) 

- “Literacy for Social Justice” - How literacy provides a better education and making books accessible to children. Learn about book deserts and the disparities that exist in access to books. (37 minutes)

- “Free College Advisers Make a Hard Decision Less Lonely” - Learn about a resource which supports students applying to college who may have challenges in accessing someone to guide them through the process. (8 minutes)

WATCH

- “Kandice Summer: How America's Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty” - A powerful account of a teacher in a low-income neighborhood in Boston. (13 minutes) 

- “Geoffrey Canada: Our Failing Schools. Enough is Enough!" -Former president of the Harlem Children Zone, Geoffrey Canada, gives a powerful call to action. (17 minutes) 

- “Dena Simmons: How Students of Color Confront Imposter Syndrome” - Captivating story about growing up in the Bronx, an environment filled with poverty, violence and limitations, and being one who makes it out, in part due to an education from New England’s top private school. (10 minutes)

ACT

- Become involved in the legislative process - visit the Connecticut General Assembly Education Committee website for local, regional, and state education initiatives. You can even sign up to track a bill’s movement through the legislature.

- Check out our local library, where you can learn about the free tutoring, homework help and other services. You can also make a donation to the NHFPL to improve children’s opportunities to have access to books and programs.

- Inspired by the “Project Ready Reflective Journal: Equity & Access for Diverse Youth,” consider these prompt questions to reflect on your own learning experience in school. 

Post your reflections from today’s challenge on social media or share with a friend that you are participating in this Equity Challenge as part of your learning and commitment to racial justice. Use the hashtag #UnitedForEquity and tag @UnitedWayOfGreaterNewHaven.

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