The 2021 Racial Equity Leadership Institute is designed to help individuals and groups of educators, leaders, and related professionals who work both inside and outside the classroom. Our objective is to increase understanding about race, racial identity, bias, and being anti-racist in a cross-section of education stakeholders and provide them a forum to discuss the new learning and translate it into action to change our education system. 

Driving Racial Equity in Education Learning Series

Eight 2-hour online discussion sessions on race will use acclaimed materials from the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.  Each session will involve approximately one hour of pre-work to introduce you to new material and concepts. The bulk of each session will be a small group facilitated discussion to digest the material, its implications, and generate ideas to translate the learning into action. The sessions will be from 4:00-6:00 pm on the following dates with these topics:

    • March 18          Historical Foundations of Race
    • April 15             Bias
    • May 6               Race and Racial Identity
    • June 3              Whiteness
    • September 23  Social Identities and Systems of Oppression
    • October 21       Being Anti-Racist
    • November 18   Community Engaged Action
    • December 16   Community of Practice Opportunity

The program is flexible. Participation in all the programs is preferable, but after the first session you may subsequently choose areas of focus depending on your particular needs.

You may enroll as an individual or as a team. To help you process the material and actions, consider enrolling with a “partner” (e.g. co-worker, peer, associate).

Discussion groups will mix people from both formal and informal educational backgrounds to allow more exchange and cross-fertilization. 

Each session features:

o   Pre-work consisting of an hour of videos and/or written material, pulled predominantly from the Smithsonian website. The pre-work will be accompanied by the discussion questions that are helpful to keep in mind while completing the pre-work.

o    Each session will open with a grounding, an introduction of the materials, and a community leader who share their insight on how the topic relates to our educational system.

o   The bulk of the time (75 minutes) will be spent in small group breakout rooms. Trained facilitators will guide the group through the discussion questions.

o   Wrap up and closing includes an exercise to identify your commitment to translate your learning into action.

**Curriculum components are free for participants to use afterward with their own students, colleagues, networks or communities.**

Registration is CLOSED – The sessions are full.

Scholarships are available by contacting

CEUs and Licensure Renewal Credit

Educational participants may receive credit for participating in these sessions:

  1. Teachers may receive 2 CEUs per session.
  2. These credits may qualify toward the cultural competency requirement for licensure renewal.
  3. Administrators may receive 4 CEUs after participating in two sessions

Each post-session survey will include a web link to a certificate for teachers and another link for administrators. Participants seeking credit can print the appropriate certificate, sign it, and use it accordingly.

Please write if you have any questions.

Certificates of completion will be provided to all participants


The first seven sessions will each focus on one of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture topic areas. The eighth session will give individuals an opportunity to continue learning by becoming part of a Community of Practice.

The pre-work is an opportunity for participants to become familiar with new material and concepts, while online sessions will be dedicated to digesting and applying the material to education.  Below is a brief summary of each topic (based on the Smithsonian website’s description where applicable):

Historical Foundations of Race 

American society developed the notion of race early in its formation to justify its new economic system of capitalism, which depended on the institution of forced labor, especially the enslavement of African peoples. To more accurately understand how race and its counterpart, racism, are woven into the very fabric of American society, we must explore the history of how race, white privilege, and anti-blackness came to be.

Session 1: Historical Foundations of Race – pre work


A bias is a tendency, inclination, or prejudice toward or against something or someone. Even people who are not deliberately prejudicial may have implicit biases. Let’s learn more about this and other types of bias and their real-world impacts.

Session 2: Bias – pre work

Race and Racial Identity

The scientific consensus is that race has no biological basis – that we are all one race, the human race. Racialized identity, however, is very real. And, in a racialized society, everyone is assigned a racial identity whether you are aware of it or not. Let’s broaden our awareness.

Session 3: Race and Racial Identity – pre work


Socially and politically constructed, whiteness is not simply referring to skin color but is an ideology that reinforces power at the expense of others and strengthens systems of oppression. Let’s dig deeper

Social Identities and Systems of Oppression 

An oppressive system is built around the ideology that some groups are superior to others. These systems take on many forms, but they all have essentially the same structure. Let’s recognize our role within them.

Being Antiracist 

No one is born racist or antiracist; these result from the choices we make. Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.

Community Building

This session will include Smithsonian and other materials providing working examples of how communities and schools have moved to become more anti-racist. An useful and usable tool will be shared to help support the transition.

Community of Practice

This session is for those interested in continuing to work together after this learning series. We will explore creating a group to continue learning, unlearning and relearning as a community of practice. Our shared passion is creating a just and equitable society will be the grounding for our community. 

Registration is CLOSED. The sessions are full.

Please contact if you have questions about the Institute.

We have held six Institutes since 2015. Since 2016 the Institutes have focused specifically on the educational sector, both K-12 and higher education.

Click here for 2020 Racial Equity Leadership Institute information