Leveling the field.
As young people strive to achieve their dreams, they often encounter systemic barriers in education and employment. Five communities are transforming the student journey from early education to career by addressing the root causes of racial gaps in education.
Citizens of the Rio Grande Valley—91 percent of whom are Latino, 86 percent economically disadvantaged—are experiencing double the rate of Coronavirus infections than the rest of the state of Texas. In this context, RGV FOCUS and its partners are maintaining their focus on graduating the Valley’s high school and postsecondary students into new opportunities.
Edna Varner has been waiting a long time for Chattanooga to deliver on the promise of Brown vs. Board of Education. The 71-year-old retired principal started kindergarten in the city a year after the Supreme Court’s ruling, and graduated from an all-Black school 13 years later.
Buffalo is one of the most racially and economically segregated cities in the country, the result of generations of racist housing, lending and employment practices. With the help of Say Yes Buffalo and its partners, aspiring doctor Temara Cross and other Buffalo youth are acquiring social capital and passing it on to other youth.
With the help of Graduate Tacoma, the city’s cradle-to-career community partnership, Tacoma has closed its 33 percent Black-white graduation rate gap. Graduate Tacoma continues to advance its commitment to equity of opportunity for students of color in the era of COVID-19 and a renewed fight against racial oppression and violence.
Following the murder of George Floyd, the executive team of Dallas’ COMMIT Partnership observed that “the goals, dreams and aspirations of Black, Latinx/Hispanic students” in Dallas County “are often expressed as a fraction of the dreams for white or affluent peers.” The partnership is now helping help students realize the dreams denied past generations.