Creating an Inclusive RJA

RJAs play a critical role in helping make schools safer and more empowering for students of color. It important that students feel safe to bring their whole selves to the RJA, including their genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and ethnicities.

Your membership may already be diverse, or there may be more you need to do to make sure your club represents the full diversity of your school. The tools in this section will help you make your RJA welcoming to all.

Tools to Help You Create an Inclusive RJA

The history of movements for racial justice is full of women and LGBTQ  people who are unsung heroes. From Bayard Rustin and Sylvia Rivera’s work in the civil rights movement to Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the three queer women who started the Black Lives Matter movement and hashtag, it is important to teach your RJA that our movement is stronger for the contributions of women and LGBTQ folks. Consciously Building RJAs that are inclusive from the beginning is one way to make sure your RJA honors this legacy.

As your RJA gains strength and momentum it is important to think about building coalitions with other student groups, to hold joint events and support other groups on issues affecting a diverse student population. In turn, when your club has actions and events, make sure to outreach to your coalition partners.

Inclusive RJAs are part of a larger movement for social justice, and RJA activism can be the first step of many to making your school and the world a better, safer, and more accepting place.

What Every Super-Rad White Ally Should Know

The RJA model brings together students of color and white allies to combat racism. Here are some ways to encourage white allies (or potential allies) to become more actively and effectively involved in your RJA.

Ways Racism Affects White People

1. Racism helps the white elite retain power and wealth. Racism has been used since our nation’s infancy to divide the interest of poor white people and people of color. The white elite fostered this divide and used it as a political tool to keep poor folks fighting each other instead of advocating for common interest.

2. Racism acts like blinders. W. E. B. Dubois coined the term the “veil” to describe the psychological impact of racism. The veil impacts both white folks and people of color. Because of the veil, white people have a hard time seeing and understanding the perspectives and potentials for people of color.

3. Miseducation. Our history has been written to erase the contributions of people of color to our national and world history. The dominant narrative is used to obscure systemic racism and its impacts.

“HOMOWORK”: WAYS TO FIGHT RACISM AS A WHITE ALLY

  1. Organize discussion groups in class or after school to talk about the “Ways Racism Affects Straight People.”
  2. Bring up racial justice issues in conversations with friends or discussions in class.
  3. Interrupt racist jokes, comments or any other behaviors that make racism appear OK.
  4. Put racial justice posters in the halls and classrooms or wear shirts, buttons, etc. that promote racial justice.

See more terms and definitions, using these glossaries.

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