The Racial Literacy Project at Teachers College, Columbia University was established in 2016. The project is an expansion of the success of the established Racial Literacy Roundtable Series that started back in 2009.
Since 2009, the Racial Literacy Roundtable Series has been a space for students at TC, alumni, as well as youth, practicing teachers, social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other professionals in the Greater New York area to voice their concerns, share their research and experiences, and find constructive ways to improve their practice by challenging their notions about race.
Founded by Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz and three of her Master's students, the RLRs is a forum for discussing critical issues related to race, society, education, and other systems. Facilitated by national scholars, Master's and Doctoral students, primarily in the field of education, RLRs seeks to cross community boundaries, promote inter-group communication, collaboration, and education.
Past topics have included: The School-to-Prison Pipeline, Racial Stereotypes & Labeling, Race in Higher Education, Homophobia, Multiraciality, Youth Voice, the experiences of Black girls, and other topics relevant to education.
The Racial Literacy Project encompasses three specific (objective) components:
1. A lecture series that attracts well-known race scholars and activists to speak at Teachers College;
2. Youth-led Roundtable Series, facilitated by middle school, high school, and early-college level students that cover discussions on race and racism, lastly;
3. Racial Literacy Healing Circles - modeled after restorative healing circles whereby individuals come together (in a circle) to discuss hurtful race-based events that have happened during their lifetime, and engage in a talk that offers healing from these hurtful events.
For information regarding the Racial Literacy Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, please visit this link.
When I attend the racial literacy sessions, I think of the saying that “you don’t leave the way you came.” Dr. Sealey-Ruiz’s ability to present abolitionist teaching and critical humility is captivating and has made me a conscious researcher and educator. The sessions are a light in dark times and have revitalized my racial literacy in ways I have never experienced before. - Michelle P. Burris, Senior Policy Associate