Thursday, June 02, 2022

Impact of 100+ years of segregation in USA

I've been building a learning library for over 40 years, intended to support my own efforts as a volunteer tutor/mentor, beginning in 1973, and the efforts of hundreds of students and volunteers in programs I led from 1975 to 2011.  When we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 we systematically expanded the information being collected, and began sharing it with leaders, volunteers, donors who were part of organized tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicago.  In the late 1990s we began putting this on the Internet, sharing it with the world.

I created the graphic at the right more than 20 years ago to visualize the type of information I was collecting and sharing.  Since 2005 I've used concept maps, like this one, to show sections of the library. 

I've always focused on "why" tutor/mentor programs were needed, not just, how to be a good tutor or mentor, or how to organize an effective programs.  And, I've tried to inspire others to follow my own path, from volunteer, to leader, to advocate.  

Thus, one section of the library focuses on race, poverty, inequality, social justice, etc.  It includes several hundred links.  I added one more yesterday, after watching a webinar hosted by the Albert Shanker Institute, titled "Segregation and School Funding: How Housing Discrimination Reproduces Unequal Opportunity."

You can read the Executive Summary at this link, and find links to the full report, and case studies of seven cities featured in the report.

As I wrote above, I've been collecting links to websites that talk about segregation, inequality, racial justice, etc. for many years. Thus this is an old problem that has never been solved.  During the webinar the speakers introduced a section of the report, titled "The Evolution of the Segregation "Toolkit": 1900 - Present" that detailed tools that have been used for more than 120 years to create and maintain housing segregation in US cities. This starts on page 8 of the full report.

The authors write, "The discussion of this section takes the form of a narrative of sorts, one that unfolds over 120 years, in which individuals and institutions, public and private, display remarkable (albeit destructive and inhumane) agility and creativity in crafting new segregative strategies and adapting old approaches to rapidly changing circumstances. These efforts were so effective that the impact of policies and practices from a century ago are still evident today."

The graphic below was used to visualize the information in the "Toolkit".   

Note that while various laws were passed to end housing segregation, creative efforts were used to bypass those laws.  This is described in detail in the report.

Below I'm going to share a few Tweets that highlight some of the information in this report, including maps.  

These are just a few Tweets posted by the Shanker Institute yesterday.  As I listened to the webinar, I tried to amply what was being said through my own Tweets. I posted the Tweet below on Monday. The message applies to what you need to do to share the Shanker Institute report and motivate more people to read it and the other research in my library. 120 years of not solving this problem is far too long. 

I've posted Tweets in many of my previous blog articles with the goal that you'll go to Twitter and follow these threads, then gather people you know to discuss what you're reading and ways you can get involved in solving some of the problems these Tweets point to. At minimum, you can seek out local youth tutor, mentor and learning  programs and offer them your on-going support. 

This photo shows myself addressing students and volunteers at one of our year-end celebrations. I did this every year for 35 consecutive years.  Every time, while I congratulated people for work done during the previous year, I encouraged them to dig deeper into the information in the library, to know more about where and why tutor/mentor programs were needed, and ways volunteers, and students, could take active roles in changing those conditions.

Around the country thousands of leaders are doing the same as myself, as they end programs for the current school year and begin planning for the next. Some are already actively recruiting volunteers for next year!

I hope you'll read the Shanker Institute report, especially the part about the "toolkit".  People have intentionally created the conditions that elevate White people and devalue people of color for over 120 years.  That won't stop until others are just as creative, and just as persistent, in efforts that counter those efforts. 

As you dig through the library, take a look at the articles about social capital that I've posted on this blog.  Expanding the "who you know" networks of kids and families living in segregated, high poverty areas, is one way to expand the network of those who need extra help achieving the American dream. 

Thanks for reading my posts.

I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam and can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.  Please connect and help me amplify these ideas. 

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