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Keeping Each Other Accountable - Equity in ECE Funding

06 Dec 2022 by Isabella Henriksson

We are back with another great episode of Impacting the Classroom. In this episode, our host Marnetta speaks to Keami Harris, the Chief Equity and Strategy Officer at the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and Dr. William Johnson, the Director of Educational Strategy at the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. Together, they dive into the history of early childcare and how to support a more equitable system.

You can listen to today's episode here or read the transcript below.

 

Marnetta: Hello and welcome to Impacting the Classroom. If you're new to the podcast, we talk about all the policies, research, and challenges that are impacting early childhood classrooms. I'm your host, Marnetta Larrimer.

What's impacting the classroom? Today, we're talking about funding. But more specifically, we're talking about how funding has not been equitable throughout the early childhood space.

Digging into this with me today are Keami Harris, the Chief Equity and Strategy Officer at the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and Dr. William Johnson, the Director of Educational Strategy at the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. Let's take this moment and introduce yourself to our listeners and tell me a little bit about your organizations.

Keami: Hi, thanks for having me. I'm Keami Harris and I am with the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. I joined them fairly recently as their very first Chief Equity and Strategy Officer, which is an outgrowth of the work that our steering committee was committed to. They prioritize racial equity as a learning and practice imperative for ECFC members.

In 2019, we started the racial equity workgroup. I say that I am the promise of the racial equity workgroup who is very committed to this work. A lot of my background and what I've done over my career has been in equity before this work was considered equity work; it's just been the work. I'm excited to be here alongside a colleague of mine, who I know you're going to introduce shortly.

Prior to that, I've been in this educational space for a very long time. I think I fell into this work in 1999 and started in the public education system, and then have been in the nonprofit space. I’m working on behalf of black children and families and then all children and families but as an outgrowth. So, thanks for having me.

Marnetta: Welcome.

Billy: Dr. William Johnson. I am, as you said, the Director of Educational Strategy at the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. Prior to philanthropy, for the past 18 years I was a school teacher, a school leader, and the district leader. The last 4½ years I've served in this role.

I've been serving students in the education space now for 20-something years. I think something that's really important. I'm a member of the National ECFD, but I'm also the co-chair of Connecticut's Early Childhood Funders Collaborative.

Marnetta: Wonderful. Thank you very much. Again, welcome to the podcast. So excited to talk with both of you.

First question, what are ways in which previous policies or funding has been inequitable in the past?

Keami: I'll say the early childcare learning industry was for sure built on the backs of black women who weren't paid at all to care for white children. We know this. I think a lot of people are familiar with that.

I'll say what's been very interesting as the Early Educator Investment Collaborative and Child Trends commissioned a report in 2021 that focused on literature review and a way to develop policies and practices as they map the history of systemic racism in childcare and early learning.

It was called the Mary Pauper report. It had a particular focus on educator pay, benefits, preparation, and workforce stability. Throughout history, I'd say racism and sexism have been embedded into the laws and policies at federal state, local levels. These policies have been, in my opinion, used to systemically discriminate against black women and other women.

You see that play out with low wages for early childcare educators. You see it play out with lack of health care for our workforce, or the early learning workforce. I'll even take it back further, which is outlined in the report that I just referenced that talked about how way back when when the federal government enacted policies to abolish slavery, you saw states enact Jim Crow and Black Code laws. Those are clear examples of the way in which policies have impacted black and brown individuals from way back when.

Then you think about Headstart, of course, which was created by the feds to help ensure that states funded education for young children, for black children specifically, also, because they weren't doing that. Those are things that come up to me, and I think it's important to reflect back to history, because it certainly is forming to what is happening and playing out today. I will defer to you, Billy, in case you want to add to that.

Billy: I think the key thing I want to add is, we, as a country, have never undone old policies. We just build new ones on top of them. To say we're going to get to a place of equitable policy requires you to fix and repair the old, which it seems to me in my 47 years of existence, I haven't seen enough will to do that.

Keami knocked it out of the park. We have to go back to the root of the issue. Because early childhood—I say this, and this is not opinion, it's just fact—was fine when black women were breastfeeding and taking care of, specifically their slave owners’ children, and not being paid. This is not an opinion. I know folks get very sensitive about our history. But you can't come up with an equitable policy without addressing the history.

Then as soon as early childhood became a public good, guess who's still at the bottom of the pay scale? You can take a guess. History shows it. I want to just emphasize, to move to an equitable place.

Keami outlined all the history. We have to go back. We can't just come up with a new policy. We have to fix and repair the old policy and then create the new policy out of the repair in effect.

When I'm talking about repairing and fixing, I'm not just talking about I'm sorry. I'm not just saying we're eliminating that. It takes a resource to change the trajectory of where we're trying to go. I'll just add that.

Marnetta: Wonderful. I hear you all. You see me incessantly nodding. If you're only hearing this, know that I am incessantly nodding as they are speaking. You said that we need to get to the root causes. What foundational shifts that we just keep stacking on to do you see specifically that need to happen?

Billy: If you've been educated in the USA, you have an indoctrinated belief about X and you can put whatever an X. Early childhood could be there or what is valued could be there or not valued.

We need to come to this place of understanding that the way we're educated is indoctrinated to participate in the system that has lasted for hundreds of years in our country, which is capitalism or inequity.

Capitalism drives inequity. Someone has to be at the top. A small few need to be at the top, the large amount has to be at the bottom to keep the system running in place. For me, there’s a lot of unlearning and relearning we need to do. At the same time, I'm not saying stop doing the work, but also folks to say let's stop doing the work, and let's relearn and unlearn. No.

We have enough white papers and research to tell us what we need to do. I think the key root issue is what we value because if we value our babies, and every single baby, and the people who are actually there nurturing our children, we don't need to have too much of a conversation about why people are being paid poverty wages.

Basically, the real answer to this is that we don't value our babies as a system. I want to say that because I'm not talking about individuals, because I think individuals value babies. But we also have to come to this place of understanding because I hear this a lot. I don't know, Keami, where you stand on this. We always talk about the system as if we all aren’t part of it. When I say the system, I'm talking about me, you and every other American who lives here.

If we say we value our babies and the opportunities we want them to have, then we have to be active participants, and unlearning and pressuring wherever we sit. I sit in education and in philanthropy, that's where my efforts will lie. I'm not sure we move to the inequitable place until we understand that the root thing is us. Yes, it's all policy. But it's us who allows the old policy to be maintained and not just marginalized people, all people.

Keami: I want to just snap my fingers and say yes. Yes, Billy, because this is what I've been saying for so many years, and I've been doing this equity work for a while. We're more recently doing it with those who are in seats of power. Sharing with them that we talk about the system is this, the system is that, as if, as you said, it's somewhere far off, like if it's some group of people who sit at the top of the mountain somewhere, whereas we are all a part of the system.

We are the change that we want to see. We have to see power to those who don't have it. That is whether you are a white woman, a black woman, or another person of color. If you hold the seat of power, you need to be grabbing somebody along and seeding some of that power in listening and hearing, because that is the only way that I really think that we're truly going to be able to get to change.

A lot of us are not proximate to the challenges that are happening. Many of us have not been on the ground or know what's happening. I haven't been there in a long, long time, particularly those who are in spaces who are able to provide resources, who are making policies. They haven't been there and they don't know what the real issues are. I find it always challenging for those who are in seats of power, who are making decisions for those and our most vulnerable communities, but who have our most valuable children living in them don't really understand the issues.

Marnetta: Absolutely. So in your current positions—I'm just going to piggyback on what you're saying—have there been any personal experiences in your journey as a teacher, or as you've moved into the position that you're in, that has heavily influenced the work that you're doing now?

Keami: I will say all of the experiences. I've worked and started my career in the Prince George's County Public School System, which is considered to be one of the richest black counties in the USA. However, it has great disparity. I've always worked in Title One schools when I was an educator. Those experiences working with students who are, as I always say, our most valuable and not most vulnerable, to me, shaped who I am today, because they lived in communities and were in schools that were not well-resourced.

Then when they did get schools that were resourced, they had other barriers, other things that were around them—crime, hunger. So many other issues where there weren't those wrap-around supports, and there's only so much that the school could provide. I always felt like what else can we be doing? What else can we be doing to support these communities in addition to educating them in the public school system?

That is part and parcel why I wanted to be into this nonprofit space, because I felt like there was so much more that I could do, not just for my smaller community but also nationally. I went to work at the National Black Child Development Institute, which works unapologetically on behalf of black children and families. That is where I feel like communities and organizations who are most proximate to these communities are having insane real success, because they are the ear to the ground, and they are able to react immediately to the needs of these communities.

Even being at the national level, I still felt like there's so much more I can learn, so much more I can do. I think this step of moving into what I call philanthropy-adjacent, because my organization is a membership organization for philanthropy, but being able to be in conversation with those and community, but also those who have the resources to impact community has been, for me, I feel life changing. I think it's really going to be able to move communities and move the needle in early learning in such a significant way. I feel such hope that that's going to happen.

Billy: Marnetta, can you repeat that question? I’m just listening to Keami.

Marnetta: It’s okay, if I can remember what I said. All right. I said in your current position, have there been any of your own personal experiences that have influenced the work that you're doing?

Billy: Oh, yes. I think offering this information would be helpful. I'm a second gen college goer. My mom was first. I just know in our community, education has heavily pushed my family from the south to the north for jobs—my great grandmother, my grandmother, I think my mom was like, six.

My mom did everything she was supposed to do. She went to college. She became a teacher and had a life of working poverty. I get this experience because sometimes we believe that there is data to support. Young children experience the world differently when their parents are college-educated. There's data to support that. But when you introduce the intersection of race and gender, that doesn't necessarily add up the way you would think it.

I offer that because having a college-educated mother who was a teacher, who actually knew her best way professing to navigate the education system for her black son, still did not land me in any position of privilege or readiness.

I'll say that because when I got to college, although I took AP courses and the things they say you should take to be college-ready, I figured out pretty quickly on my high school graduation that everyone who got a diploma that day, all meant different things.

I offer that personal experience around this because yes, it shows up in my work. It's actually the thing that drove me to become a teacher. I did not want to become a teacher because my mom was, because I saw we still lived in poverty. That wasn't my interest. But when I got to school, when I realized, I did everything, my mom, the teacher, and they're still saying I'm not ready to be here—not intellectually, but skills, about the skill part—that continues to drive me.

One other thing that I will say that has been a conscious choice—because when I talk about resources in our community, I'm actually talking about human resources also—I think this thing that we're fed in the American education system, specifically if you're black or brown, is get a good education so you can move as far away from your community as possible. I am not community-adjacent. I live the same place that I live.

I'm very clear that I have access to resources and power that other people in my community simply don't. But what good is that doing them if I'm not there? I think all my personal experience when we talk about it as a foundation with other foundations, I'm not talking about it from what I used to remember because they're in a pandemic. I was a resource to my family. I am adjacent to resources.

When a cousin calls and their fridge is empty, and they're working 80 hours a week trying to figure out child care because the childcare system literally shut down in our communities, this is not for me an adjacent thing, it's just a daily living thing. I have a strong, strong belief. We're never going to change our most destitute community from the outside-in. It's from the inside-out.

I think it leads to where we put our resources because we have a history of leaving our resources. I'll say philanthropy has a history. Mine is only five years in. But I know this to be true, even in the education system. When resources come in, we leave it to middle management to decide where it's going to go.

To Keami’s point, middle management has never lived in the community, although they “work” in the community for 30 years. They don't actually understand how the resources need to be used. What we know is systemically, resources are used in a very specific way that are inequitable. We have to be thoughtful about how we leverage our resources—human resources and monetary resources—to actually promote change. I think, for me, it's staying in proximity.

I may not be in proximity to my community forever, but wherever I go, I'm going to be very much in proximity to the community that reflects my community, because I understand the closer I am to that community, the better I will understand how to wield power to have that impact.

Marnetta: I love that. It's much more than just visiting. You've been there 30 years, but you go home back to a different space. You don't have that experience. Yes, you provided this resource, but it was not enough or was not the correct resource. It's not a lived experience for you because you're just visiting. You just have to take it. Thank you for that. Such a great conversation. How can funders and policymakers ensure that their dollars are used in a just and equitable way?

Billy: I'll jump again, because for me, your dollars need to go directly to parents. Let me explain. It goes back to the last point I made. I'll use a real example. Everyone's hopes are around Build Back. I'm going to give an example. Because, in my opinion, this is an opinion. But if you really think about how our system works, it’s not an opinion.

If Build Back dollars came from the feds—which honestly I was even hopeful that would happen—but if it lands at the state and institutional level, how many of the dollars are actually going to hit the children we're talking about? We have a system that already tells us who's in need. We already have that system. The system already exists. For me, in order for that to happen, dollars actually have to hit parents and children.

We know what children are born, we know where they are, we know how much their parents make or don't make. Dollars need to hit them. Parents should have the power of choice on where they want to send their children. I think this is very important as a parent of a three-year-old during the pandemic who stayed home. I want to give this example because I think not only should dollars go to parents, but here's why.

During a pandemic, we're very old school in my community as far as the network, so I called my mom, called my boy. My mom called her church friend saying, who is still keeping kids during this time? Because those are networks, whether it's church, if you belong to some other organization, and my mom was like, Billy, everybody that used to do that during a pandemic, of course they’re in the 70s. They're like, they just closed down right now. You're talking about a person who has resources.

What I value most about early childcare is that my child can be with someone who values them and who they are the way I do. But if you set up systems that only allow people to access public dollars to go to centers—not to pick on a center, but centers means something very specific in Connecticut; I won't speak for the rest of the United States—you do not have a whole lot of centers that are run by people of color. You don't.

For me, when I think of those, the way you deal with it is that dollars should go directly to parents so they have the choice to send their children where they value. Instead of the trickle down economics, that just doesn't work. It doesn't work.

I'm oversimplifying it, but I don't think I am because we have a system that says this person makes this amount of money, this person does, and we could literally, on a very simple basis, parent, you have two children under this age. X amount of dollars will be allocated to you based on the percentage of money that you make and you can make the choice on where you want care to happen. That's just my opinion and my thoughts about it.

Marnetta: I think it's a lovely thought.

Keami: It is an amazing thought. I think some of that was in Build Back Better, but I don't think that it was talked about enough. I feel like when you think about ways for them to know is to certainly do just that. A lot of my work previously has been with family and community engagement and I think it goes back to who is proximate?

Families and communities know what they need. They know exactly what they need. They know how to use the resources that are given to them. But people don't ask them and people don't include them in the decision-making process from the beginning.

I think that it is a challenge that I always see that there are people out here who think they know best what families and communities need and they never once take the time to ask. I think if you did that, in addition to funding the national advocates, but you fund these grassroots organizers and advocates to be able to do their work, you would get better results and really understand what's going on.

To Billy's point, we have all the data. We already have the information that we need. We don't need any more white papers. We don't necessarily need to commission a bunch of studies to tell us where the funding should go. We need to infuse this funding into places where we know people need it most.

You saw when we gave folks the COVID relief dollars, it instantly helped and changed the lives of people. Instantly. If people want to spend these narratives of how people use the money in negative ways. To be quite honest, to Billy's point, I still live in the community that I was born and raised in.

I still live in Prince George's County. I was born here, I worked here, I went to school here, and I still live here every day. I was able to see how transformational those dollars were for the people in the communities that I live in and that are around here.

I say to that point, the way in which policy makers can ensure that those dollars and funders are used in just an equitable way, is to challenge their own thoughts and biases about communities of color and the why. Why won't they just infuse those dollars directly? Why does there have to be a middle person to make these things happen?

Marnetta: As people are listening to this, what are your suggestions to help to elevate those voices, elevate those families and those communities to where they can get what they need from the funders?

Keami: I would say I'm really excited about some of our own members at NECSD and the ways in which they are shifting how they fund and who they fund. Certainly, there have been years and decades and decades where funders have not considered voices and communities, but it's really encouraging to me in the short time that I've been in my role to see the commitment by philanthropy in centering those voices of communities of color, of grassroots organizers, and really being able to listen to them and fund them in ways that they had not been funding them previously.

I mean, communities that are black-led or Native-led. Funding them with capacity building dollars and not imposing their own ideas of what should be done in those communities. I'm encouraged by some of that and hopeful that it won't just be for the now and that it will continue.

That has been (I think) transformational because I've been in early learning and in non-profit spaces for years and know that there has been a lot of mission creep and people changing what they do because they need dollars, they need money to support. I'm excited to see multi-year funding and conversations that are being held in conjunction with communities of color.

Billy: I agree. I think my challenge to everyone's why do we feel—and I'm saying this openly from a broader context—that in order to deal with ills of the world that we know exists, we have to lift somebody's voice.

Part of me when I say that, and I'm being very clear about this, has more to do with the part of rejecting the history we know exists or finding a way to talk about it differently instead of just talking about it. I want to be clear, I am not undermining the question. I know the importance of lifting the right voices, but I'm speaking to lawmakers and policy makers.

First, a part of me goes, it's a requirement for you to be a lawmaker and policymaker to understand the history of this country. Listen, I'm a teacher, there are requirements. I had to take a whole lot of tests. I say that not in a way to diminish people's hard work.

What I say is and what I would hope is our lawmakers and policy makers, especially in my living time on earth, what I've been through or seen visibly that everybody else has seen over the last three years that I'd be saying, listen, maybe I don't know something and I need to know the history of where this stuff comes from, so I can help drive policy that is more meaningful for all people.

Like I said, I'm not saying that to undermine the lifting of voices, but I'm getting at a real key issue in our country about decision makers. Decision makers listen to who they listen to for very specific reasons, whether it's a voting contingency—these are the people who keep me in my seat—or on their own basic understanding of our country and our history. You make decisions on that or your own personal experience.

I want to lift that other aspect of learning and understanding because the thing that I think is easy for people to do is listen to the people who put them in seats or jump on the trend of whatever is popular. Just putting that other perspective.

I completely agree with the lifting of the voices because marginalized communities don't have seats at those tables. But what I've seen is even when they get a seat at those tables, the people at the tables don't have enough historical or contextual understanding of the world to see. Sometimes they go like what are these people talking about? And that's not the intent.

Our intent is to lift the story so you have a better understanding, but I go, listen, if I'm 60 years old and I've understood the world from the very narrow perspective of my community that is not that community, I'm looking at "these folks" who are getting their voices lifted and coming to the table as not the reality of the world.

I just think there needs to be a lot more intentional conversations at the decision-making level also. Folks aren't just making decisions in rooms isolated from the rest of the world or their constituents.

Marnetta: That leads us perfectly into my next question. Because they have the same data, the white papers, the research, how can providers and leaders at the local, state, and federal level all hold each other accountable for this work that we know needs to happen?

Billy: I'll go back to my original thing, stop putting funds into the traditional system and expecting something different to happen. Early childcare in the sense of a parent's power of what they want is probably the easiest thing, in my opinion, to invest in. Because if funds come to me and this notion—and Keami, you named it earlier—that people don't know what to do with money. Really? Where does that happen?

Stop putting funds through the traditional system and expecting something different to come out and maybe, it doesn't matter what your social economic status is, putting funds directly in the hands of parents and allowing them to make decisions on behalf of their babies. That to me is the ideal way that doesn't allow things to get caught up in the system that we know already exists to do what it already does.

Keami: I would absolutely agree with that. I think that the way that we can hold each other accountable is to learn the history that we talked about before. Understand the history, the barriers, the ways in which people have been marginalized and excluded from tables and from the system.

The system is fragmented. We know it's been fragmented for a long long time. COVID really cracked the nut all the way open to show that black, brown, indigenous individuals, people of color have have borne the brunt of these inequities for so many years and are finally using their voices in ways that they had not before and people are starting to listen, but there's so much more that needs to be done.

Build Back Better to me was a way in which to begin to hold people accountable and hold each other accountable for sure at various levels. The fact that it didn't pass to me shouldn't stop us from continuing forward. I think when we talk about this whole reimagining of the system, when I hear about reimagining the system, it still sounds the same.

To Billy's point, we're going to do the same thing that we've done and just put a different title on it. That doesn't get to the change that we want to see. I think hearing from, again, it's important for me to hear from communities who are impacted and learn from them and listen to them, really listen to them. I think that for providers and leaders who are at the grassroot level at federal, state, and local levels, we need to build a new table.

We need to tear that table down and build a whole new table because expecting people to come to tables that are already built, that already have these preconceived notions, doesn't work for anybody. It doesn't advance us forward and it doesn't change the system in the ways that we want to see the change.

Billy: Can I add something to that, Keami? Something came to mind when you said that. I think we need to actually, as a country, assess the goal for every American citizen to thrive and live a good life. That's really a question I have because if the goal is that, then we need to stop creating policies that actually have barriers that don't allow people to thrive and have a good life.

My mom, my grandma, and my great-grandma came from the south. My mom was six. They lived in public housing. Now my mom has these friends from public housing that I had no clue were friends from public housing. I'm going to share this because I think it ties back to what is the intention.

I'll use Ms. Rita and Ms. Susie, I'm not going to use their real names. One is an Irish woman and one is an Italian woman. I always thought growing up that Ms. Rita and Ms. Susie were teachers because the majority of teachers in Connecticut are white women. I always thought that.

As I got older, I knew they weren't teachers. One was a bus driver and one worked at the post office. How do you know them? I've known them since birth. See, they grew up in the projects with me. Then asking myself, how is it that Ms. Susie and Ms. Rita were able to move on from public housing, own a home, and thrive?

I want to be clear. As a country, I don't think we ask these questions. I'm a professor also so I know the research. I know why. I know because we didn't have access or we were denied access to home loans for a very long time because of the color of our skin.

This question that I ask is all the things that we talk about as pertains to equity, to me, it's rooted in a question that I believe is still not publicly answered everywhere specifically by policy makers, because if our goal is for all Americans to thrive and to have a thriving country, I think the policies that we come up with would have less barriers.

It seems like we come up with policies and we say we want to address X, but up only if this, up only if that, up only if this. I want to add that because I think that's a question that should be at the forefront, especially of people of privilege and power, and policy makers. What are the barriers that were put in place that don't allow this policy or allow all Americans to thrive and how do we remove those barriers?

Marnetta: That was a great addition to what was said. Before we go—time went by really fast—what else would you like our listeners to know about your work? What do you wish that they knew?

Billy: I think for me what I would say to all the listeners because although I've done a lot of things in a lot of places, you don't have to be at the front to have impact. The only way to know me or get to know me as Keami did is if you're in a room with me. I am not an upfront, need-to-be-the-face person because I believe there's power in helping people understand that you don't need to be upfront and be there to actually impact change.

I think because of that narrative, especially in our hyper-social media society, normal everyday working people tend to believe if they're not in these roles, they don't know how to have an impact.

What I would say to folks what you should know about me is wherever I've been, I've been doing the work. Know I haven't always had to be upfront and you don't either. But we do need you to find whatever space you're in, learn more about it and learn about how you can impact it because the change won't happen because a celebrity does a five-minute interview about the ills of the world.

I say that very much so because I want to be very clear, the civil rights movement was funded by a lot of our celebrities. That is not an opinion, it's history, it's facts. But what I'm saying is what they understood was we have access or they were resource-adjacent because they were celebrities. But we're going to bring the resources to the people so the movement can continue.

I think what's happened in our history now is not only has the resources still been with celebrity folks or people who are resource-adjacent, but they've also tried to take on the lead. Someone in our office says this all the time. If you take a walk and you think you're leading and no one's behind you, then all you're doing is taking a walk.

I want to encourage folks who are listening, whether you're in institutions, whether you're in classrooms, whether you're a childcare provider, you're early childcare, you can have impact wherever you are and you don't need to be the face, because some people feel pressured by being the face so they don't say anything. What I would encourage you is to find a way to say something in a way that you're comfortable with and you can support the movement.

Marnetta: Keami?

Keami: I would say that I would want all of you all to know from where I sit in my role that there are some tremendous shifts that are taking place in philanthropy as it relates to racial equity and justice. That philanthropy is thinking deeply about how to invest more equitably in communities of color. They have an interest in wanting to hear from individuals and communities that have been historically under-resourced.

I do think that there's a lot more that needs to be done. I still think that there are so many in philanthropy that are in different spaces and places for various reasons that are not yet at a place where they are listening and hearing from the community.

Part of my work is to move people along a continuum. That there's still much more learning to be done, but we can't always sit in a place of learning and that's for everybody, that while you're learning, you also should act. To Billy's point, this is something that we are very much aligned in, that it is important to both learn and act simultaneously because I think that is the sweet spot.

Part of what I am interested in doing in my role is to ensure that we shake the tables. That we can no longer do what we've been doing because we see that that has not worked. I am very much pushing those who are members of ECFC to think differently.

I won't even say to think outside the box, to destroy the box and rebuild something that looks nothing like the box, because what we've been trying to do, some things have worked, though, but a lot of things haven't. We keep talking about this idea of reimagining and transformation and we have to make that look like something totally different. It can't be re-imagining using the same old system. It has to be something that includes voices who are, again, proximate to those things that are of challenges.

We have to be thinking about strength-based approaches and not always thinking about communities of color from a deficit. Thinking about the way in which we are conducting and commissioning research in a more equitable and just way. We think about equity, but we are not talking about justice as much as we should be. I think that's where we're trying to go.

That is really central to the work that we are trying to do and doing it in partnership with all of our members who are in philanthropy and do have the resources to change. I'm excited about that and I'm looking forward to working more closely with those in the community and those who are in philanthropy.

Marnetta: What a great way to end this episode. Thank you both so much for joining me today.

You can find today's episode and transcript on our website, teachstone.com/impacting. And as always, behind great leading and teaching are powerful interactions. Let's build that culture together. Thanks again.

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