Children, Families, and Youth Development

Systems of inequity profoundly influence the opportunities available to children, youth and families, and the ways that various groups have sought to increase positive effects and prevent or reduce negative ones. The resources included in this section highlight the primary role that family plays in shaping life experiences. They also shed light on the ways that racial inequity is present at the onset. From unsafe neighborhoods to environmental toxins, children of color are frequently exposed to a myriad of racial inequities, some based on the zip code in which they live. These facts offer paths for transformation and entry points to early intervention and support.

Childhood Well-being

Nobody’s Child: Victims of the U.S. Child Welfare System
Camille Landry
Alliance for Global Justice
How the Foster System Has Become Ground Zero for the US Drug War
Movement for Family Power (MFP)
2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Lifting All Children Up
National Education Policy Center (NEPC): Schott Foundation for Public Education
The Community Opportunity Map
Casey Family Programs; Community Attributes Inc.
Why We Can’t Wait: A Case for Philanthropic Action: Opportunities for Improving Life Outcomes for African-American Males
Marcus J. Littles, Ryan Bowers, and Micah Gilmer
Ford Foundation

Children and Youth

The Intersection of Adolescent Development and Anti-Black Racism
Carrie Masten et al.
National Scientific Council on Adolescence (NSCA)
In Search of Reparatory Justice: A Child-Family Welfare Act for Black Descendants of Captive and Enslaved Africans in the U.S.
Stephanie Franklin
National Association of Counsel for Children, The Guardian
A Conversation About Growing Up Black
Joe Brewster and Perri Peltz
The NY Times, Op-Docs
Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy
The NY Times
My Brother’s Keeper Task Force: Report to the President
My Brother’s Keeper Task Force
The Consequences of Structural Racism, Concentrated Poverty and Violence on Young Men and Boys of Color
Carol Silverman, Michael Sumner, and Mary Louise Frampton
Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School

Early Childhood

Equity in Childcare is Everyone’s Business
Carrie Gillispie, C. Codella, A. Merchen, et al.
The Education Trust
Our Youngest Learners: Increasing Equity in Early Intervention
Carrie Gillispie
The Education Trust
A New National Model for Preschool and Child Care in the U.S.
Mary King
Start with Equity: 14 Priorities to Dismantle Systemic Racism in Early Care and Education
S. Meek, I. U. Iruka, R. Allen, et al.
The Children’s Equity Project
Reflections and Recommendations from Interviews with Eight Early Childhood Education Policy Leaders of Color: Why Is Everyone at the Policy Tables So White?
Adele Robinson
University of Maryland
A Pandemic within a Pandemic: How Coronavirus and Systemic Racism Are Harming Infants and Toddlers of Color
Stephanie Schmit, Rebecca Ullrich, and Katherine Gallagher Robbins
The Center for Law and Social Policy
What We Owe Young Children: An Anti-Racist Policy Platform for Early Childhood
E. Minoff, S. Houshyar, A. Citrin, V. Martínez, and M. Martin
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Equity Starts Early: Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy
Christine Johnson-Staub
The Center for Law and Social Policy
Removing Barriers to Breastfeeding: A Structural Race Analysis of First Food
Center for Social Inclusion

Resources for Child Care Providers

The Horrific Mass Shooting in Buffalo: How to Talk with Young People
ADL (Anti-Defamation League): Fighting Hate for Good
My Child Is Sharing Conspiracy Theories and Racist Memes. What Do I Say?
Shelly Tochluk, Christine Saxman, and Joanna Schroeder
Western States Center (WSC)
Talk and Walk: A Children’s Guide to Racial Justice
Out of Hand Theater
Saving Childcare: The Essential Value of a Worker-Owned Childcare Ecosystem
Joe Waters
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk About Race
Raising Luminaries
Achieving Racial Equity: Calling the Social Work Profession to Action
NASW Foundation’s Social Work Policy Institute
Being Black is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child
National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)
Equity Conversation Guides for Young Leaders and Partners
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Resource Guide: For White Teachers & Parents Developing Racial Consciousness and Moving into Action ...
Christine Saxman
Speak Up: Opening a Dialogue with Youth about Racism
USC Rossier School of Education
Structural Racism and Youth Development
The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change
What White Children Need to Know About Race
Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli
National Association of Independent Schools

Resources for Parents

Parenting for Liberation: A Podcast for Black Parents
Trina Greene Brown
White Lies We Tell Our Children
Colin Stokes
TEDx Talks, TEDxBeaconStreet
Nurturing Resistance & Joy in Black Children
A Parent’s Guide to Addressing Race and Racism With Kids
Kate Auletta
Nice White Parents Podcast
Serial & The NY Times
Resources for White Parents to Learn About Racism
Janine de Novais
InCulture Parent
“Racially Conscientious” Parenting in a “Colorblind” Society
Terry Keleher
Pact, An Adoption Alliance
For Whites (Like Me): On White Kids
Jennifer Harvey
How To Talk To Your Kids About Race, Racism And Police Violence
Christian Cooper, Melissa Giraud, Andrew Grant-Thomas, Meghna Chakarabti, and Anna Bauman
On Point and EmbraceRace
Raising Race Concious Children
Lori Taliaferro Riddick and Sachi Feris
The Dos and Dont’s of Talking to Kids of Color About White Supremacy
Hilary Beard

"“Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”

~ Sitting Bull, Dakota Sioux Chief


A Conversation About Growing Up Black – Op-Docs, The New York Times

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

  • Economic Development

  • Employment and Labor

  • Health and Healthcare

  • Language Justice

  • Reparations

  • Voting Justice and Democracy Building

  • Community Planning: Land and Transportation

  • Economic Security

  • Environmental Justice

  • Housing

  • Media and Technology

  • Reproductive Justice

  • Criminal Justice

  • Education

  • Food Justice

  • Immigration and Refugee Rights

  • Philanthropy

  • Trauma, Violence, and Healing



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues