Within twelve hours on May 25, 2020, we as members of the public witnessed two different but related forms of racism (the killing of George Floyd and the Central Park incident between Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper) unfold almost in their entirety. All of this on top of a health pandemic that has amplified racial, economic, healthcare, and educational inequities in Black and Brown communities. The events of the last four weeks, four months, and four centuries of racial injustice weigh heavily on our individual and collective consciousness.
Guided pathways offers an important opportunity to close long-standing equity gaps for historically minoritized students. Implementation by itself is not a guaranteed elimination of these disparities; we must consider how to structure anti-racist practices/policies and dismantle white supremacy in our guided pathways design. Doing so will require humility, urgency, and accountability, especially from those who can use their privilege and positional power to drive conversation toward structural action. We also must ensure that members of Black and Brown communities are in the center of both design and decision-making.
To support your college’s courageous and critical conversations towards racial justice in design and practice, the Advancing Equity through Guided Pathways series offers a suite of brief and practical discussion guides covering various intersections of equity and guided pathways. NCII and the California Guided Pathways Project have partnered with national leaders who have deep commitment to and demonstrated experience with closing student equity gaps who bring their unique perspectives and insights to each guide. No guide is intended as the definitive word on its topic; rather, these guides are designed to spark essential conversations and actions towards addressing equity gaps through the implementation of guided pathways.
It is heartening to see increasing numbers of people discussing changes that they would not have considered in the past. But we also have to remember that discussions and commitment to change are only the first steps. Action that leads to substantive change is essential, and it is possible if we do the collective work to make it happen.