Community Engagement

Over the next few months, the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer (CDEIO) will host multiple community events to engage with the APS community to discuss how he is systematically implementing diverse, equitable, and inclusion practices across the school division. These community events will also allow members of the community to provide feedback to the CDEIO, while recommending changes and new practices they would like to see implemented.

Let’s Talk: A Community Discussion on Race

Arlington Public Schools hosted the virtual “Let’s Talk: A Community Discussion on Race” event on Monday, June 22. This event was a follow up to the joint statement on race issued by the Superintendent and School Board earlier in the month. The virtual event included a panel discussion and Q&A for students, staff and community members to engage in a meaningful discussion around race and equity. This was the first in a series of ongoing community discussions on race over the coming months.

The Let’s Talk Event Series will continue through the summer with additional events specifically for students to provide them with the opportunity to to talk about current events in a format that will empower them to identify problems and create solutions in advocating for change.

Let’s Talk Summer Student Series

The Let’s Talk Summer Student Series is a series of community and student-based conversations about race relations in America. The “Let’s Talk: A Community Discussion on Racism” event was the beginning of the series and was a community forum for courageous conversations focused on how parents can talk to students about race relations in America and the impact on school systems. The Let’s Talk Summer Student Series is designed to cultivate student leadership by moving students along a continuum of empowering their voices to identify problems and create solutions in advocating for change. All sessions in the series will be designed to model how to have table talks and family conversations about current events.

All sessions will be held virtually and the invite to the virtual event will be emailed to attendees.

Session #1 – Let’s Talk: What’s on Your Mind?
Date: July 8, 2020

To challenge all students to think critically, instill a sense of empathy and empower students to act as allies for one another. Time to reflect, not just that they have understood, but that they are able to internalize and integrate the experience; that they are able to explore and articulate the feelings and thoughts that emerge from the encounter, and that they are able to recognize their own individual growth and development as a result.

Session #2 – Let’s Talk: Brown Skin & A Blue Uniform – POSTPONED
Date: July 22, 2020

  • Group A (Ages 12-15): 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Group B (Ages 16-21): 1 – 2 p.m.

Arlington Public Schools is pleased to present the Let’s Talk Summer Student Series,” a series of community and student-based conversations about race relations in America. The next session in the series is “Let’s Talk: Brown Skin & A Blue Uniform” on July 22, 2020. The event is for students from ages 12 – 21. Students will explore issues of race and systemic racism within police departments across the country. School Resource Officers (SROs) from the Arlington County Police Department will participate, share how they support school communities, and answer questions from students.

Students are encouraged to review the following materials before participating in the event:

  • A Black Police Officers Perspective: Four Black Police Officers commenting on the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and being a Black Police Officer in the U.S.
  • How the Police See Issues on Policing and Race: Police officers comment on whether their treatment of Black People is fair, why they don’t believe there is evidence of discrimination against Black people, and being a Black police officer.
  • A Conversation with Police on Race: In this short documentary, former police officers share their thoughts on policing and race in America. In the previous years, the discussion of police on race has reached a fever pitch. There have been the deaths by the hands of police officers of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner. This has started two movements. Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter.

Session #3 – Let’s Talk: How Might I Use Social Media to Fight for Social Justice?
Date: Aug. 5, 2020

This hour-long session will engage students in exploring what works in social media and how they might use those insights for causes they care about.  We’ll tap students’ innate curiosity about causes that already interest them, draw upon examples of social media that have captured their attention, extract lessons they can use from those examples, and encourage the students to ask themselves “How might I use social media to fight for social justice?”

Panel:

  • Arron Gregory, Chief Diversity, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Arlington Public Schools
  • Ximena Hartsock, Founder and CEO, Phone2Action
  • Yolande Kwinana, Co-Founder, Arlington for Justice
  • Eric J. Troy, Founder and CEO, Eficionado
  • Moderator: Lynn Borton, host, “Choose to be Curious” WERA 96.7 F.M.

Student Participants will:

  1. Hear from two people who have had a lot of success using social media in support of the causes they care about
  2. Identify and dissect effective social media strategies
  3. Apply the lessons they learn to social justice causes they care about

Come Prepared!

  1. Pick an example of social media that captured your attention or made you curious. Bring that example to the session to share.
  2. Want to read more before we even get started? Check out these success stories:
    1. Youth Climate Activists
    2. Turning #BlackLivesMatter into something more than a hashtag
    3. From Parkland to Sunrise: A Year of Extraordinary Youth Activism

 


Contact the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Arron Gregory at 703-228-6269 or arron.gregory@apsva.us.