Reflecting on Our Commitment to Racial Equity: EdInsights’ Journey Since 2020


June 2024

Like many organizations, in May of 2020, EdInsights released a statement acknowledging calls for racial justice spurred by law enforcement’s murder of George Floyd and recommitting to actions that advance racial equity in education. As we look forward to celebrating Juneteenth this year, we offer this reflection on how EdInsights has lived into this commitment over the intervening years. 

Early on, we convened a workgroup to develop a center equity statement that would outline how we define and operationalize equity in our work. This collaborative process emphasized the need for collective learning, ensuring staff across our functional teams have a shared understanding of racial equity and the historical conditions underpinning the structural racism that we are grappling with today. As a team, we have engaged with and discussed podcasts (e.g., Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi) and books (e.g., No Study Without Struggle by Leigh Patel) to deepen our shared understanding. 

In 2022, EdInsights underwent strategic planning with the support of the Equity and Wellness Institute. Through that process, we centered equity in our work in several ways, including the following:

  • We revised our center’s purpose statement to focus on antiracist approaches to policy and practice to advance racial equity in education. 
  • We are in the process of creating a decision tree to guide center decision making, such that project and funder choices are aligned with our values and purpose. An early version of the decision tree has guided us in selecting projects that align with our commitment to advancing racial equity in education over the last couple of years (e.g., an impact study of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Equal Employment Opportunity efforts).

Thoughtful of how the words we use (re)create ways of thinking and being that can either reinforce or resist systems of oppression, we have implemented shifts in our language as an organization–for example, moving from “mission” to “purpose” and replacing “stakeholders” with relevant synonyms in both our writing and speaking, as a means of intentionally divesting ourselves of the settler colonial implications of those terms. Similarly, we have thought about how our internal processes and access to information may serve to reinforce or resist structural inequities. Over several years, we have been working to create clear and transparent career ladders for each functional team. These will help ensure that all staff have access to the same information regarding salaries, job requirements, and opportunities to advance within the center. 

As outlined in our May 2020 statement, we have re-examined our professional learning initiatives (previously “statewide initiatives”)–the CSU Student Success Network (the Network) and California Education Policy Fellowship Program (CA EPFP). Within the Network, we have:

Within CA EPFP, together with our partners at the Center for California Studies, we brought on EPFP alum Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, Ph.D. as program manager and engaged educational equity expert Mia Settles-Tidwell, Ed.D. to center equity within the CA EPFP curriculum. This year, we introduced a new opportunity for fellows to share their perspectives as guest writers in an EdInsights’ blog series titled “Fellowship Insights.”

As part of our strategic planning work, we also reconvened EdInsights’ equity statement workgroup and are very pleased to announce the publication of our center equity statement. As an organization that values continued learning, we see this as a living document that we will revisit regularly to ensure its continued alignment with our understanding of equity and how we operationalize equity in our work.