Words matter: Transforming systems and public narratives

At MnEEP, we know that how we define and use words is essential for building real systems change. How we talk about what we believe and why it matters allows us to connect to others on core values, deepen understanding, and advance a multiracial movement for transformative change together.

That’s why we recently refreshed our mission and core values, and reshaped key definitions in our Race Equity Glossary to better reflect who we are where we are in this crucial moment for building racial justice.

Over time, we see how definitions and our understanding of them shift as we speak truth to power and challenge dominant, harmful narratives. 

Words, and our understanding of them, have power. They have power to shift mindsets and inspire action. And they have the power to transform systems and drive meaningful change for racial justice. It is with that understanding of the deep power of words that the staff at MnEEP set a deep intention to reshape and define key definitions in our Race Equity Glossary, and to develop essential frameworks for building narrative power and advancing racial equity in education.

To that end, our Race Equity Glossary isn’t a space of fixed definitions, but a space where language, and our understanding of words and their meaning, will continue to evolve as we shift public narratives and build collective power for transformative change together. 

For these re-shaped key definitions, we centered knowledge from the communities we serve. And we drew from the research and wisdom of organizations doing deep systems change work, like Race Forward and Center for Racial Justice, and from leading voices like Angela Davis and Ibram X. Kendi, and so many other leaders who have spent their lives centering the movement for racial justice. 

These core definitions are central to the work we do at MnEEP to change systems, structures, and public narratives, and to the actions we take, together, to build a more racially just future where every student has the opportunity to thrive. 

We hope you will use these words in your conversations, and in your work to advance a multiracial movement for education justice in Minnesota. 

This is how we work, together, to transform systems, structures, and public narratives to advance race equity and excellence in education.

RACE EQUITY 

Race equity is a path from hope to justice— where People of Color and Indigenous people (POCI) use their personal agency to build systems of healing and liberation that uplift and value the human dignity of all people.

Race equity in education means the humanity of POCI students is honored and celebrated in all education spaces, and the racial predictability and disproportionality of student achievement is eliminated.

To that end, race equity in education is not merely a value or the absence of racial inequities or disparities. It means that all education systems and structures are just and inclusive, and every student uses their power to shape the world and who they want to be in it. 

RACE EQUITY LENS 

A Race equity lens is an essential tool for analyzing policies, power, relationships, outcomes, and solutions for building a race equity framework. It asks key questions centered on the realities and perspectives of those harmed by the current designs of our social systems and how those systems deliver services to them.

RACE EQUITY FRAMEWORK

A race equity framework is the application of new policy, practice, and public narratives for building race equity.

ANTI-RACISM 

Anti-racism in education is the active process and in-depth analysis of identifying and dismantling racist attitudes, systems, structures, policies, and practices to build equity between groups and advance a more racially just future where the humanity of everyone is valued and uplifted.
MnEEP equips educators and education leaders with culturally-specific tools and resources for addressing and dismantling racist structures and practices in Minnesota schools, and empowers them to create new, anti-racist relationships and systems that honor POCI students and the unique talents and lived experiences they bring to education.

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