The Center on Culture, Race & Equity at Bank Street (CCRE) was founded to create just and equitable learning environments so that children of all backgrounds can thrive and realize their full potential. Unfortunately, children in the United States are born into and must learn to navigate a highly racialized society. Whether children ultimately benefit from this racialized society or suffer the innumerable consequences, they are all deeply implicated and impacted. We believe that adults are uniquely positioned to either perpetuate the inequitable systems we inherited, or interrupt inequity through intentional practices and policies. Our work supports educators, social and health service leaders, practitioners, community members, and families in courageously addressing inequity and sustaining meaningful change.
Previously known as the Center for Culturally Responsive Practice, we decided to change our name to the Center on Culture, Race, & Equity for three key reasons: we cannot ignore the centrality of race in our society, we view culturally responsive practice as a foundational method for creating equitable learning environments, and elevating culture sustains our work.
The harshest and most marginalizing effects of bias in health, social service, and education systems fall along lines of race. To mitigate the effects of bias, we must examine the role of race in our schools and communities. If we wish to create equitable environments for children, we must partner with professionals and community leaders to authentically explore the role of race in their own lives and in the lives of their students and families. Our work is deepened when we examine race in the context of other identities; we are committed to honoring the distinctive yet intertwined narratives of children, families, professionals and community advocates.
Culturally responsive practice as a method.
When working with educational, social service, and health systems, we ground all of our work in a strengths-based, culturally relevant approach. This is one of our methods for creating equitable learning environments. We also pull on other research-based, practice-proven methods such as: restorative justice, trauma-informed practice, community-based design processes, and anti-bias education. Changing our name from the Center for Culturally Responsive Practice to the Center on Culture, Race, & Equity allows us to clearly communicate the growing scope and depth of our work.
Culture sustains us.
We think of culture as the roots of a tree; if a tree has strong roots, it can grow strong and weather the storm. Similarly, if a person is grounded in a deep understanding of who they are and where they come from, they can flourish and thrive under any condition. To honor and build on the strengths of cultural norms and practices, we work with professionals and community leaders to explore, understand, and celebrate the various and vibrant cultures of their students and families.
As we grow into our new name, we plan to bring you along on our journey toward equity. Central to the journey is a deepening of our understanding of culture and race. Therefore, we will contribute to existing discourse on race, equity and education through blog posts and tweets. We invite you to join us in the dialogue by following us on Twitter at @CCRE_bsc and subscribing to our newsletter here.
We look forward to continuing our work alongside so many great people in the field. We thank you for your partnership and support.
The CCRE Team
Faith Lamb-Parker, Veronica Benavides, Lisa Gordon, Erica Licht, Margie Jimenez, Jonayah Jackson & Stephanie Abbeyquaye