H.E.A.L. Together to Support Strong Schools and Racial Justice

H.E.A.L. (Honest Education Action & Leadership) Together is a new initiative spearheaded by Race Forward with coalition partners including the NYU Metro Center, Schott Foundation, Alliance for Quality Education, and Center for Popular Democracy that is building a movement of students, educators, and parents in school districts across the United States who believe that an honest, accurate and fully funded public education is the foundation for a just, multiracial democracy.

The reactionary backlash against racial justice and LGBTQ movements over the past few years has once again put public schools center stage. But there’s hope. In states across the country, communities are uniting against these reactionary, divisive attacks and winning.

To celebrate and grow this movement, more than three hundred public education activists attended Wednesday night’s official launch of H.E.A.L. Together. The event featured music, poetry, inspiring speeches and strategic insights.

— Dr. John H. Jackson (@DrJohnHJackson) March 31, 2022


Race Forward President Glenn Harris helped open the event, describing the importance of public schools in our nation’s struggles for racial justice and democracy. “We can’t get to a just, multiracial democracy without honest and accurate education of our young folks,” he said.

Race Forward Vice President Cathy Albisa drew historical parallels, noting that the First and Second Reconstructions also featured waves of progress and backlash, especially around education, and stated the importance of making the present period, the Third Reconstruction, “the last one we’ll need.”

Third Reconstruction

The Schott Foundation is lending is grantmaking expertise to make sure groups doing this important organizing work will have the resources they need to win. Schott’s Opportunity to Learn Network Director Michael S. Wotorson reminded the audience of the urgency of this moment: “There is no understating the fact that if we don’t do something right now, and if we don’t do so in a concerted effort, the threat is going to grow. I just can’t say enough about the importance of all of us joining hands, getting on board, and getting in some good trouble to protect our democracy.”

So far, we have partners across ten states who have officially joined H.E.A.L. Together, with more coming soon:

HEAL Together map

But communities in every state can right now take advantage of the organizing tools that we’ve assembled. The free H.E.A.L. Together toolkit includes:

  • Background to help you understand how we got here
  • Steps to help you build a campaign in your school and community
  • Researched and tested messaging guidance to help you talk about these issues
  • Resources to help you take action, including templates, worksheets, and more

Race Forward Senior Fellow James Haslam reinforced the importance of district-level organizing, detailing how in his own hometown of Essex, Vermont, anti-CRT forces were successfully pushed back and out-organized. “Even though they start these culture wars, they don’t have to win them,” he said.

Next steps:

Take the H.E.A.L. Together pledge >

Click here to access the toolkit >

Funders: learn how to support this work >

— CRT is American History. #Periodttt (@zansari8) March 31, 2022