10 Steps to Start a Racial Justice Alliance

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1. Follow Guidelines

Establish a RJA the same way you would establish any other group or club. Look in your Student Handbook for the rules at your school. This may include getting permission from an administrator, finding an advisor, and/or writing a constitution .

2. Find a Faculty Advisor

Find a teacher or staff member whom you think would be supportive or who has already shown themselves to be an ally around racial justice issues. It could be a teacher, counselor, or librarian.

3. Inform Administration of Your Plans

Tell administrators what you are doing right away. It can be very helpful to have an administrator on your side. They can work as liaisons on your behalf with other teachers, parent groups, community members, and the school board. If an administrator is resistant to the RJA, let them know that forming a RJA club is protected under the Federal Equal Access Act.

4. Inform Teachers and Staff, like Guidance Counselor About The Group

These adults in your school may know students who would be interested in attending the group.

5. Pick a Meeting Place

You may want to find a meeting place that is private and accessible to everyone.

6. Advertise (and Get Food!)

Figure out the best way to advertise at your school. It may be a combination of school bulletin announcements, flyers, and word-of-mouth. Also get food and tell people there will be food: people always come to meetings when you provide food! If your flyers are defaced or torn down, do not be discouraged. Keep putting them back up. Eventually, whoever is tearing them down will give up.

Besides, advertising for your group and having words up such as “undoing racism,” “Black Lives Matter,” or “discuss racial justice” can be part of educating the school and can actually make other students feel safer — even if they never attend a single meeting.

7. Hold Your Meeting!

You may want to start out with ice breakers, trust/team building activities, and a discussion about why people feel having this group is important. You can also brainstorm things your club would like to do this year.

8. Establish Ground Rules:

Many groups have ground rules in order to insure that group discussions are safe, confidential, and respectful.

9. Plan For The Future

Develop an action plan. Brainstorm activities. Set goals for what you want to work towards.

10. Let us Know About your RJA

Now that you’ve started it up, send us an email at racialequity@vtnea.org, so we can connect you to resources and other RJAs in Vermont.

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