Please Note Schedule Change: The February 19th session will run from 3:30-5:30pm to accommodate Professional Learning Day.
Launching the 1st OUSD Racial Affinity Group Facilitator Fellowship!
Inviting School Sites & Department Staff to Apply for the Fellowship HERE by February 10th!
This Spring, OUSD is piloting a Racial Affinity Group Facilitator Fellowship designed for facilitators who lead racial affinity groups in district departments or schools - one tool in our toolbelt for racial healing.
The fellowship will involve a commitment to participate in a series of four 2-hour training sessions on February 19th, 26th, and March 5th, 12th, and a reflection and goal setting session on April 16th. All sessions will be from 3-5pm, except for the first session to accommodate Professional Learning Day, and that session will be from 3:30-5:30pm.
We will have up to 25 fellows in this first cohort. If you are interested in joining this cohort, please fill out the application as soon as possible to hold your space.
You are invited to participate in 2020-2021 Solidarity Affinity Circles for Racial Justice!
Dear OUSD Community,
We continue to be outraged about the systemic and institutional violence that our Black community is forced to deal with on a daily basis, along with the ways other communities of color are targeted, and we know that it can be difficult to hold this pain and anger while at the same time holding increased responsibility to care for our families and move our work forward.
In June 2020, we held racial affinity groups open to all staff in OUSD, and we heard from many staff that they would like to see these conversations and community-building continue throughout the year. So we would like to invite you to join us back throughout this school year, especially as mental health challenges can deepen the longer we are in shelter-in-place.
These affinity groups are based on how you self-identify to create a safe and open space for participants. These solidarity affinity groups are vital spaces for us to heal, share authentically and openly, and unpack the varying impacts of racism in our own lives as we consider the strategic actions we can take.
If you are interested in participating, you can register to receive announcements for upcoming dates:
Black Staff Affinity Group Register
[Last Tuesdays of Each Month 4-6pm]
Multi-Racial Staff Affinity Group Register
Asian American Staff Affinity Group Register
Latin-X & Indigenous Affinity Group Register
Jewish Staff Affinity Group Register
Middle Eastern North African (MENA) Affinity Group Register
White Staff Affinity Groups Register
We plan to share out reflections from fall semester circles at the February 19, 2021 Buyback Day Racial Justice, Equity & Healing Summit.
In order to support our students and families, we must also prioritize our wellness and self-care as OUSD staff. We hope you are all taking steps to prioritize your own nourishment during this challenging time, and invite you to this opportunity to find solidarity and common bond in each of our experiences as we build stronger and come together as a unified district.
OUSD Racial Justice, Equity & Healing Taskforce Members
Diane Lang, Manzanita SEED
Lailan Sandra Huen, Office of Equity APISA
Urana Jackson, Behavioral Health
Cynthia Bagby, Redwood Heights
Mara Larsen-Fleming, Health & Wellness
Priscilla Parchia, Expanded Learning
Chen Kong-Wick, Expanded Learning
Barb McClung, Behavioral Health
Denise Curtis, Restorative Justice Practitioner
David Yusem, Restorative Justice Coordinator
Taji Brown, African American Male Achievement
Allison Henkel, Leadership Growth & Development
Susan Andrien, Behavioral Health
Daniel Guzman, Office of Equity Latina/o Student Achievement
Griffen Castillo, Racial Justice Fellow & Oakland Tech Class of 2019
What is an Affinity Group?
An affinity group is a group of people who share common experiences or interests that supports each other and works together to change the world.
Social change work can be challenging. Acting alone, we may feel powerless to create real change. An affinity group can provide practical support as well as inspiration, motivation, fun, and a sense of collective momentum and action.
Americans are increasingly isolated. Mainstream culture encourages us to be cut-off from each other, relying on money, corporate products, and screen time to fill our needs. In the mainstream culture in the United States, people often act as individuals, rather than in solidarity with others.
Many in the U.S. have lost community-building skills because of this, so we can re-learn them by being part of supportive affinity groups. These skills make us all better educators and leaders. Affinity groups support each other in taking “direct action,” and members can take on different roles so everyone can participate.
Adapted from The Resilience Circle Network
Want to start Racial Justice Affinity Circles at your school site, or help to lead a new one?
If you'd like to start up racial justice affinity circles at your school site, here is a folder of resources to get started, and Taskforce Members can support as well.
Apply to the first cohort of the Racial Affinity Facilitator Fellowship for Spring 2021 HERE!
If you are not able to participate in the Spring Fellowship but would like support or information for future cohorts and training opportunities, please sign up here!
If you see a group not included above and want to start a new circle, please get in touch and we can add it to the list and support!