The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF)
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Washington, DC 20003
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Today, September 5, we brace for news of this administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is an Obama-era program that allowed qualified applicants who are undocumented and were brought to this country as children, to attend school, obtain work, and contribute to a diverse American society without fear of arrest or deportation. 
The administration's DACA decision is the latest in a string of decisions that ultimately harm the nation's interests. With the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, executive order attacks on the Affordable Care Act, declaring war on sanctuary cities, and failure to condemn the white supremacist-driven murder and violence in Charlottesville, this administration is halting all progress toward an equitable society, a thriving society, a society of high global standing. 
Our children stand to lose the most. DACA provides children, our most vulnerable and precious souls, with the opportunity to step into the world and out of the shadows. Since DACA's inception in 2012, nearly one million Dreamers have been attending school, paying taxes, growing families, nurturing friendships, and contributing to the rich American fabric. To take that away now is to deprive people who were brought to this country as children of their connection to what has become their home. It is also to deprive all of us of the worldview and wisdom that come from living, working, and learning in communities that are reflective of what this world offers. 

Schools now must be places of true sanctuary. They have to call in reinforcements, experts with backgrounds in psychology and mental health, social work, and trauma so that they can protect young people from the forces of evil that are bearing down on them and their families. Now is a time that schools also must strongly consider the role that law enforcement play in their buildings. Law enforcement officers' first responsibility, their 'client,' is the state. This is unlike teachers, school nurses, and school social work providers, whose primary focus is the well-being of the students. 

In this time of fear and uncertainty, schools are the front line of protection for the nation's youth. Far too often, for Black and Brown children, protection in schools does not include law enforcement. Our community partners are working all across the country to help improve school environments. We welcome school administrators, teachers, and other educators to contact us so that we might put you in touch with grassroots organizers in your area who can help you to ensure that your young people are safe from all harm. 

And, we welcome all of you, our friends and supporters, to join us on Friday, October 6, when the Communities for Just Schools Fund will reveal its new strategic plan at a launch event and celebration at Google NYC. Details are below. Our strategic plan includes our approach to capacity-building and technical assistance supports to grassroots organizing groups so that they can help create education environments that are places of sanctuary for every single child. 

Please stay tuned for information about a national conversation on race and education that CJSF will kick off with its community partners on October 23 in New Orleans.   

Allison Brown
Executive Director
Communities for Just Schools Fund 
In This Issue
SchoolHouse: Equity in Education


To RSVP, click here

Community Partner Updates
Kids Rethink New Orleans - CJSF would like to congratulate Austin Smith from Kids Rethink New Orleans for his selection as a Soros Youth Activist Fellow . As a Fellow, Austin will help black youth at different levels of interaction with the criminal justice system create a space to build power. He is currently a lead organizer with the Jo Power Collective at Rethink. 

Rethink will also be hosting the Young Peoples' Movement Assembly in   New Orleans where youth organizers - aged 15-25 - will come together to share and collectively develop strategy around sanctuary for Black & Brown youth. To register for this event, click here

Providence Student Union   launched a new website  on August 1. Their newly revamped website serves as a better platform to connect  with student leaders and offer support. Email with any questions about the site or about PSU's  work. 
Charlottesville in Perspective
On Saturday, August 12, a "Unite the Right" rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The rally saw racial tensions between white supremacist groups and anti-racist groups.  Many of CJSF's friends and partners reflected on the conflict in Charlottesville.  
CJSF Supports Civil Rights Data Collection 

Forty-three grantee-partners joined CJSF to address a letter to the U.S. Department of Education expressing support for maintaining the Civil Rights Data Collection. The letter was in response to a notice from the Department of Education in 82 Fed. Reg. 33880 seeking input on the proposed information collection for the 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) administered by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Our 50 partner organizations' efforts to improve school discipline and climate span 31 states and have positively impacted millions of students, parents, and educators. You can read the letter here

Youth On Board  was part of a 3-year project with the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) where they worked with 7 other youth-serving organizations and groups across the country to develop a common language, program assessments, and best practices of social-emotional learning in after-school settings. Some of the resources Youth on Board developed with SCE include:

The SEL Field Guide, located at the upper right corner of the website, is where case studies, curriculum and activities broken out by 6 SEL domains can be found.


The SEL Strengths Builder Method is where 3 useful assessments - youth skills, staff practices, and curriculum - can be found. 


CADRE  is accepting applications for a Community Organizer who is experienced and passionate about igniting and developing the leadership and unity of parents of color and supporting their power to change the public education system and end the school-to-prison pipeline crisis. The position is based in South Los Angeles. You can find further information here
Many Voices, One Community
is currently accepting proposals for presentations at the 5th Annual Race, Poverty and Social Justice Conference scheduled for Friday, November 3 - Saturday, November 4 at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA. The deadline for proposals is Monday, September 11. Click here to learn more. 
In Philanthropy
CHANGE Philanthropy
The  2017 Unity Summit: Investing in Movements for Equity will take place in New Orleans on September 18-20. The Summit will highlight how philanthropy can align its investments along the themes of Resistance, Protection, and Empowerment. To register for the 2017 Unity Summit, click here

The Roddenberry Fellowship
is currently accepting applications from activists, leaders, advocates and social change-makers. Applicants can become one of 20 Fellows who will be selected for 2018 to receive a $50,000 grant to help support a project or initiative in the area(s) of:
  • Civil Rights 
  • Climate Change & Environmental Justice 
  • Immigration & Refugee Rights 
  • LGTBQIA & Womens' Rights
SchoolHouse: Equity in Education (podcast)
At the start of our August podcast line-up, our Executive Director Allison R. Brown talked Radical Health and Education Justice with Elmo Gomez of the Labor Community Strategy Center and Ivelyse Andino Austria of Radical Health who are teaching, living and learning for young people and communities of color. 

Later, we sat down with Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses, Donna Mazyck to explore the role of school nurses and how they are positioned to contribute to a positive, healthy, and equitable learning environment for students. 
Book Club Corner
Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV - everywhere, all the time. 

The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our ability to address is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. 

In essay, image, and poetry,  Citizen  is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.