A Racial Justice Alliance (RJA) is a student-run club, typically in a high school or middle school, which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to racism and racial justice.
You may already have an RJA in your school in the form of a Student Diversity Club, a Multicultural Student Group, or maybe a class or advisory dedicated to issues of racial justice. If you already have an RJA, we’re here to support you, share resources together, and connect you to a larger network of RJAs around the state.
There are three typical functions of an RJA:
Activist, Support and Social.
RJAs Take Action to Create Change
RJAs work on educating themselves and the broader school community about racial justice. They may bring in outside speakers to cover a particular topic such as history. They may organize awareness events and offer a series of educational workshops, panels, and celebrations. Some RJAs organize a “Teach the Teachers” staff development day, which focuses on teaching school staff how to be better allies for students of color. There are many other types of educational and activist events that RJAs can do.
RJAs Provide Support
Many RJAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are exploring the topic of systemic racism or those who are experiencing harassment at school because of their actual or perceived race, ethnicity or national origin. These groups often provide one of the few safe spaces for students to express themselves.
RJAs Build Community
RJAs are also social groups. They provide a sense of community and a space for youth of color and white allies to build a social network where their identities are respected. Lots of RJAs organize barbecues or movie nights, organize field trips to a local events, and attend conferences together. RJAs are a great way to build community at your school and lessen the isolation that students of color might otherwise experience.
Aren’t Ready to Start an RJA yet?
This area of the website is organized to be a resource for RJAs because our vision is to see RJAs in every school in Vermont, but many of the resources are relevant to any student or anyone who works with students.