We have a new name and look!
I am thrilled to be sending out our first newsletter as RE·Center Race & Equity in Education, and with our new design. Thank you to CO:LAB for all the support through the branding process and the on-point design work! CO:LAB is a design and marketing firm and much more! Thank you as well to all who helped us celebrate this important moment in our history. We had a memorable event at Real Art Ways, where we kicked off our new identity with 120 partners, all committed to equitable education!
T he new name more fully expresses our dedication to helping transform K-12 schools into equitable learning environments free from impacts of racism. As one teacher said, " This work is not just useful, it is essential if we are committed to the health and academic success of all students."
Our organization is evolving, and always keeping students in the center of everything we do. I'm grateful for your interest in our critical work!

Kate Busch Gervais | Executive Director
Discovery Camp

It's a wrap!

We had a great Spring Discovery Camp with 810 fifth and sixth grade students from Hartford and the region! Students came from 12 schools, and had the chance to live, learn, and play together. They experienced diversity, inclusion, and equity education, team building activities, and fun in the outdoors.

Our thanks go out to all of the people and organizations that supported this program, and to the amazing, talented, diverse staff of camp counselors and teachers!

Some comments from the youth:

I learned that everybody is beautiful and different in every way.

I learned about privilege which I have never thought about how easy it is for me to do stuff and it might not be for others.

I learned teamwork makes dream work!

It helped me learn to accept people no matter how different they are. This helped me make new friends that I wouldn't never had.

I will put myself in other people's shoes and don't judge.
Equity in Education Workshops

At Re-Center we believe that "changed people change systems" and the Equity in Education workshops do just that—create opportunities for people to change.

" This personal, professional development process gives people an opportunity to understand themselves, how they fit into systems of power, privilege, and oppression, with the goal of committing to making changes ," Jason Fredlund, Re-Center program director, explains. The 3-part series was a successful pilot that helped over 150 participants understand their own roles and co-create what it takes to build more equitable classrooms.  Participants included teachers, adm inistrators, parents, State Department of Education representatives, professionals from the non-profit, health care, and higher education sectors. Participants left with an increased sense of agency, a model for how equitable spaces operate, and a newfound understanding of and commitment to their roles as educators and leaders.  

Jason describes the workshops as a "first date." You know the feeling—heart pounding, sweaty palms, nervous excitement, hoping they like you. It's like that except it's a room full of people learning about equity and how to promote equitable, anti-racist spaces in education. The beauty of the workshops is that they allow broad community access to this material and these strategies. Fortunately, many of the reviews let us know that we're definitely getting that second date: " This workshop was deeply moving and powerful . I have never participated in professional development that was as worthwhile as this was. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am for this. I feel that equity work is an obligation that I have to my community in a way that I previously did not ."  

New workshop dates will be announced soon!

Board of Directors Update

We have been so fortunate to have the guidance and support of the following Board members whose terms ended on June 30:

Sarah Barzee, Ph.D.
Fernando Betancourt, J.D.
Willajeanne McLean, Esq.
Paul Stefanik III
Barbara Taylor

We welcome our newest Board member, Kimberly Traverso . Kim is an Education Consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education and brings deep experience in educational leadership, school counseling, equity and discipline.
Beyond Desegregation

Re-Center was invited to present at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s RIDES' first conference, entitled “ Beyond Desegregation: Promising Practices for Creating Diverse and Equitable Schools .” This conference was designed to help school systems go beyond segregation—merely placing diverse students in the same building—and become truly integrated spaces where  all  students can equitably learn and grow.

" We wanted to help expand the conversation and shift the thinking about the problem. If you think the problem is segregation, then the band-aid solution will be buses to integrate schools. If you understand the problem as rooted in a system of white supremacy and racism, which resulted in deficit understanding that students of color are less capable than white students, then your solution will look different ," Jason Fredlund, Re-Center program director, explained.  

The conference was a great opportunity to network with national thought leaders in the integration and equity conversation. It was also an opportunity to contribute to that conversation, as Jason and Derek Hall presented the “Co-Creating Equity Shifts” in an interactive workshop. The session helped to expand and “re-center” the conversation around disrupting patterns, policies, and procedures that uphold and maintain unjust educational outcomes. One attendee described the session as “ one of the best I have been to—you were able to organize so much of what I have learned about DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) into the 5 mind shifts—while also creating a vision for what DEI achieved looks like. You have moved my personal development forward as well as my practice. Thank you!

Anti-Bias Training for Hartford's Story and Soil Coffee

"Inside the small Hartford cafe, co-owner Sarah McCoy explained how the incident at Philadelphia Starbucks - the one that made national headlines and led to a company-wide training on racial bias - spurred her to think more about bias in a place like this." RE·Center program directors Jason Fredlund and Derek Hall facilitated a rich discussion about social racism, power, and gentrification. See the story by Vanessa de la Torre on WNPR.
National Education Association

We were honored to be invited by the National Education Association (NEA) to be their guests at their Conference on Racial and Social Justice in Minneapolis in late June.

The nation's largest professional employee organization (3 million members), the NEA is committed to advancing the cause of public education. The goal of the conference was "to provide a unique space for educators, students, parents & families, organizers, community members & leaders to unite for the advance-ment of justice in education." Attendees had opportunities to access information, resources, strategize and engage on issues that impact educational opportunities for communities of color, LGBTQ+ and women.

RE·Center staff Emilia, Derek and Jason are grateful to have had this opportunity to meet hundreds of activated educators from across the country. We look forward to the possibilities of working with NEA in the months ahead. Check out these two short videos about NEA's EdJustice initiative!

Hartford Youth Scholars

Hartford Youth Scholars (HYS) helps “Hartford’s underserved children realize their true, powerful potential so they can then help their communities and their city do the same” through a 10-year program and support system for students and families. The HYS program includes academic enrichment that prepares middle school students for and assists with their acceptance into rigorous college prep schools. And it supports scholars to and through college. RE-Center recently held a program to create space for input and bonding among the HYS scholars. The facilitators took the scholars through a "carousel" where they went around the room reacting to prompts like " What I Want my Teachers to Know ," and " Microaggressions ." Then the scholars engaged with the Four I's of Oppression: Internal, Interpersonal, Institutional, and Ideological /Cultural. Finally, they explored ideas for improving the program.
Throughout the day, the scholars participated in fun activities. Rachel Aviles, former HYS scholar and RE-Center facilitator, describes the experience as, " Very interesting. As a scholar, it went fabulously. We tailored the program to meet the needs of the community, and pulled out some really great context from the participants. They were highly engaged, and definitely struggled with the breakdown of oppression, but most people do […]. I think we gave the scholars space they haven't had before to connect with their cohort—and other peers—on their school experiences ." 

We are so grateful for the recent support from the following organizations:

Ahearn Family Foundation

Beatrice Fox Auerbach Family Foundation at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Cox Charities

Fund for Greater Hartford

Kids' Education Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee

Newman's Own Foundation

Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance
Do you want to help make change so that all children can be their authentic selves and rise to their amazing potential?

YOU can help by making a donation to support this work!