Educating for Change: How Anti-Racism Efforts Are Reshaping Learning Environments

Today’s educators and mentors face a fraught world where anti-racism efforts are essential. With countless resources available to help dismantle racist systems, educators can help shape future generations. 

Read on to learn how anti-racism efforts are establishing better learning environments.

The Meaning of Anti-Racism 

Anti-racism involves opposing racism through proactive efforts on a personal and institutional level. This entails acknowledging systemic racism and its long-lasting impact today.  

The effort to become anti-racist can start with acknowledging one’s privilege or biases. And it can continue through actions that help lift minority voices and remove problematic policies. At its core, anti-racism prioritizes action to help strip longstanding racist structures.

Teachers and mentors are on the frontlines when it comes to putting anti-racism into focus. Ultimately, these efforts, though difficult, are worth it. 

Practicing anti-racism can help remove barriers. As a result, more students can gain access to opportunities and stronger community connections. 

How to Put Anti-Racism Efforts into Practice

For educators or mentors working with young people, putting anti-racist efforts into practice involves challenging accepted ways of thinking. And it involves increasing the breadth of resources to which young people are exposed. 

For example, this may include enhancing a library or reading list. A revised list could feature readings from underrepresented authors, like stories from LGBTQ or Indigenous authors. These stories can shed light on experiences that may be unfamiliar to readers from other backgrounds. 

Adults serving in educational spaces also can help reform policies that create inequities. They can revise curricula to include intentionally marginalized voices. And they can empower students by offering high-impact learning opportunities.

Additionally, putting anti-racism into practice means being willing to broach difficult conversations. Adults should encourage and practice respectful conversations that acknowledge systemic problems. Each student they serve should feel welcome to share their personal experiences and question what they learn. 

All of these efforts should be part of an ongoing process in educational environments, too. Confining them to a month or week won’t enable continuous learning and growth. 

Why an Anti-Racist Lens Matters

Bringing intentional anti-racist efforts into learning environments matters. It helps students make sense of their experiences while gaining a voice. 

Students are not blind to the social injustices they witness in their communities or around the country. As such, educators must embrace these truths and use them to fuel more honest conversations with students. 

It’s okay to stray from a lesson plan to discuss a social injustice that’s blanketing news headlines.  Doing so gives students an opportunity to reflect and redirect the conversation. Anti-racist efforts help build stronger, more united, and empathetic communities.

At OhanaHC, our learning environments are inclusive spaces that invite participants from all walks of life. As a volunteer with our organization, you can contribute to ongoing efforts to shape spaces that encourage open conversation and equity. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at to learn more!

Leave a Comment

Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

© 2023 || OhanaHC || 501(c)3 || All Rights Reserved