EJS Receives $900,000 Grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

EJS Receives $900,000 Grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for Initiatives on Implicit Bias and Disproportionate Suspensions of Black and Latino Students

The Equal Justice Society has received a $900,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in support of our efforts to reduce the number of Black and Latino students unfairly disciplined because of implicit bias. The grant will also support the development and distribution of best practices and techniques developed through EJS’s efforts in these areas.

The grant from the Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., is for February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2019.

“EJS is engaged in two California school districts to fashion concrete strategies and remedies that will lead to fewer Black and Latino students being unfairly disciplined,” said Eva Paterson, President of the Equal Justice Society. “We bring to these efforts deep relationships with social scientists, advocates, activists, and other civil rights attorneys forged over 15 years, resulting in new strategies to reduce racial bias in schools.”

The school-to-prison pipeline refers to educational policies and practices that push students, especially students of color and students with disabilities, out of schools and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

Disproportionate suspensions and expulsions of children of color feed the school-to-prison pipeline in numerous ways. Removing children of color from schools and sending them to juvenile hall is the first step in the process that leads to the over-incarceration of Black and Latinos in our jails and prisons.

EJS believes it is beneficial to introduce mind science concepts, such as implicit bias, into the creation of solutions addressing the school-to-prison pipeline. Educating school administrators about implicit bias offers non-threatening ways of understanding racism, discrimination, and disproportionality.

“Implicit bias is a critical component of modern-day discrimination,” said Paterson. “By recognizing that implicit bias hurts schoolchildren, we can help school districts take steps to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline that traps too many Black and Latino children.”

Through its school discipline work, EJS plans to refine new approaches and share them with advocates, educators, and school districts around the country. There are broader implications of this work that go beyond schools. Mind science concepts regarding race are of use in almost all aspects of American life.

EJS will also use the Kellogg Foundation grant to develop a national network of scholars and advocates focused on implicit bias. The goals of the network are to: improve access to research and discussion; enable interactions among activists, academics, and attorneys; and distribute best practices and remedies.

The Equal Justice Society is transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. Our legal strategy aims to broaden conceptions of present-day discrimination to include unconscious and structural bias by using social science, structural analysis, and real-life experience. Currently, EJS targets its advocacy efforts on school discipline, special education, and the school-to-prison pipeline, race-conscious remedies, and inequities in the criminal justice system. The Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit also engages the arts and artists in creating work and performances that allow wider audiences to understand social justice issues and struggles. http://equaljusticesociety.org

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. http://wkkf.org

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