Talking to Young People About Race, Racism, & Equity
As our educators, school employees, families, and caregivers have conversations with students about race, racism, equity, and racial justice, OSPI is committed to supporting them with resources and tools to help guide safe dialogue.
Letter to K–12 Employees
On May 19, 2021, OSPI shared a letter written jointly with eight other K–12 organizations asking all K–12 employees in Washington state to commit to supporting students in dialogue about race, racism, racial justice, and equity. The letter includes tools and resources to support educators and school employees in leading conversations and reflection time.
The letter was signed by:
- Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Association of Washington School Principals
- Washington Association of School Administrators
- Washington State School Directors' Association
- Washington School Personnel Association
- Association of Washington Student Leaders
- Washington Education Association
- Public School Employees
- SEIU 925
It is important to familiarize yourself with extant understandings and working definitions of antisemitism. Please remember that these definitions are often the consensus of a set of given perspectives and can evolve with time and context. The Combatting Antisemitism in Education document helps to provide information about historical and contemporary antisemitism, as well as how to combat its manifestations in the education system and society.
Resources for Educators, Families, & Caregivers
Educators & School Staff
- Association of Washington Student Leaders: Opportunity, Equity, and Access Guidebook: A toolkit created by students, intended to help adults with conversations with students.
- National Education Association: Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School: This comprehensive NEA resource guide includes tools & resources for talking about race, conducting racial equity assessments, strategic planning, ideas for capacity building and action, FAQs, and a directory of web pages, documents and allied organizations focused on racial justice in education.
- Illinois Civics’ Resources to Respond to Tragedy and Violence: Teachers can create a classroom space where we can be present, listen, and create a safe environment for our students to do the same.
- Greater Good Magazine: How to Avoid Doing Harm When You Discuss Race at Work
Families & Caregivers
- PBS for Kids: Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism: Tips and resources to help you have a meaningful conversation with young children about race, racism, and being anti-racist.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: The Traumatic Impact of Racism and Discrimination on Young People and How to Talk About It: A guide with strength-based, trauma-sensitive, resilience-building communication strategies rooted in positive youth development.
- Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center: The DDNRC’s resources provide tools to engage in difficult conversations in classroom and other settings.
- Living Room Conversations: Provide a simple guide to begin to engage in conversations across topics of conversation such as race, nationality, gender, age, and more.
- Talking About Race: The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Talking About Race guide may be helpful in preparing to navigate discussions about race and racism.
- Robin DiAngelo: Nothing to Add: White Silence in Racial Discussions: This paper analyzes a common dynamic in interracial discussions on race: white silence.