Holmes Policy Institute Launches AACTE 2020 Washington Week
Last week, scholars of color convened for the AACTE Holmes Policy Institute, a three-day training under this year’s theme, “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy.” The virtual conference, the first of the AACTE 2020 Washington Week events, offered students the opportunity to connect with peers, build their networks and engage in lively discussions on current trends. The advocacy and policy training focused on how the intersection of policy, education, and research can affect positive change for students of color.
Day 1 kicked off with AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick leading a session on civil rights in education and AACTE consultant Jane West presenting a policy briefing. Day 2 centered on presentations by guest speakers—faculty, national organization professionals, and congressional staffers—who covered topics such as efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and community-based participatory research to achieve social justice. The final day of training began with social reform advocates Jael Kerandi and Amanda Wilkerson, and moderator Ann Charity Hudley sharing their experiences and guidance on how scholars of color can mobilize for change.
The event culminated with the closing keynote address and interactive discussion led by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, the first African American elected to the U.S. Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction. Rep. Scott serves as chairman of the Committee on Education. During his address, he briefed students on legislative acts that call for equity and inclusion in education, and updated them on the committee’s efforts to safely open schools during the current pandemic—stressing how distance learning disproportionately impacts Black and Brown students. “I’m sure you will agree that adequate support should not be a political issue. It’s about the future of our children.” said Rep. Scott. “Please continue to stay engaged in advocacy both during the pandemic and beyond. Together we can work together to secure the resources that students, parents, and teachers need to help our children succeed.”