Nationally, the social justice activism to address racial inequity in the criminal justice system has renewed energy to accelerate momentum in addressing the underpinnings of systemic racial discrimination in our educational systems. Advancing racial equity in higher education has to be a commitment of community colleges to ensure the systemic inequities that have limited generations of students from achieving their educational goals is intentionally dismantled through deliberate policy and practice changes that work to create the kind of educational system we envision for the success of all students.
Achieving the Dream has been a national voice and advocate for equity in higher education and recently began a collaborative endeavor with USC Race and Equity Center to bring a customized leadership program to ATD colleges through the launch of the 2021 Racial Equity Leadership Academy (RELA).
The Racial Equity Leadership Academy, an intensive summer 2021 program, is designed to support teams of five individuals from ten colleges in the ATD Network to develop and implement a bold, strategic racial equity plan to address actionable solutions at the college campus level. The response to the call to participate in this year-long experience has been overwhelming. We are looking forward to using the momentum behind these national conversations and lessons learned through the COVID pandemic to help colleges move from a plan of aspiration, to a plan of action that brings to light the needs of the community, policy, practice and the student voice through a living laboratory experience.
We will release a new application to the ATD Network on September 22, with applications due on November 5. Selected colleges will be notified in early December. We will use DREAM2021 as an opportunity to orient the selected colleges and kick-off the work.