Racial Justice Community Outreach

This extracurricular community engagement program, run online during 2020-2021 and in a hybrid format during Summer 2021 and beyond, is designed to serve Williams students’ social justice and civic aspirations by providing the opportunity to engage in racial justice work in partnership with local schools and Berkshire County-based advocacy organizations.

Many fellows work in K-12 racial justice curriculum development at either the pre-K, elementary, middle, or high school level. Most of these work in teams with local K-12 educators who guide them in their work, addressing gaps and inaccuracies in K-12 curriculum by creating and adapting learning modules and exercises. The curricula they create are immediately usable in K-12 schools in Berkshire County and Massachusetts and appropriate for schools and community education programs anywhere in the U.S.

Other students work on projects aimed at constituencies beyond K-12 schools. Some of these involve cultural education, such as the Coloring American Heroes Project.

The education projects created so far, including supplemental resources, are all being posted or linked here, and eventually will be shared via other outlets, including the Berkshire County Education Task Force online curriculum resource library.

Some of the work done by the Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellows is highlighted below. To learn more about their projects, please click “+” to expand the content areas.

  • As a math and chemistry double major, I was excited to have the opportunity to help out with middle school social studies curriculum this year. For my work as a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked with a social studies teacher at Mt. Greylock, developing curriculum centered around Indigenous identity, history, and culture. In particular, we created a two-week unit focused on identity, community, belonging, and cultural survivance through the lens of Indigenous history. We also worked on coming up with shorter activities for students to continue deepening their understandings of Indigenous history, particularly in the local area. Overall, it was a great experience to be able to work directly with a local teacher on curriculum development and I am excited to see how the first use of our resources goes in the fall!

  • Coming soon!

  • Michelle GarciaMy project centered on designing a 5th grade curriculum that abides by Massachusetts state educational standards. This entailed learning basic digital drawing, biography writing, video lesson creation, and language skill applications. First, the coloring book focused on introducing 5th graders to influential PoC figures who have been overlooked by Eurocentrism in traditional K-12 curriculums, especially history. Second, I chose Wu Chien Shiung, one of the heroes I included in the coloring book, as the main focus for the video lessons I created in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. The interdisciplinary video lesson included a book reading of Queen of Physics, by Teresa Robeson, which provides an engaging interdisciplinary lesson on humanities and sciences. It provides lessons on history of women and the plight of Asian-Americans facing racism in the USA and introduces basics physics concepts to students. The video lesson then encourages students to chose a hero of their own interest and to write an argumentative essay as to why they are important and worth learning about. This should ingrain the concept that any person of any race, ethnicity, gender, etc., is worth learning from, thus furthering justice for all. I hope other students make similar lessons!

  • During the spring semester and summer of 2021, I worked as a Racial Justice Coordinator on two projects. For one, I worked alongside Williams students and local high schoolers, supervised by a high school teacher, to research and develop an experiential eighth grade curriculum on the topic of Voter Suppression. I was the lead author for our final report that detailed our experience working remotely and engaging with the topic. Additionally, I worked as an Affinity Group facilitator alongside other college students for Black students at a local high school where we discussed issues related to identity.

  • From CLiA: We are in the process of packaging these curriculum resources to make them widely accessible. In the meantime, interested educators can view and download examples of the curriculum work, and more will be posted as materials are ready:

  • Bless ReeceAs a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow this past year, my partner and I decided that we would pursue two different topics and form our own lesson plans/recommendations/projects as well as come together to formulate a project at the intersection of our two subjects. I pursued the topic of housing inequality. The topic of housing in the United States provides a great point of intersection among racial inequality, financial literacy, and current day events such as gentrification and continued school segregation. Illuminating a student's knowledge of housing creates a foundation to interpret current day issues and policy interventions. For example, in comprehending how both de facto segregation and de jure segregation persist past Brown v. Board of Education (1954) students will be able to connect and better tackle today’s educational inequalities. This report shares resources that I found while conducting my own research on housing inequality, as well as other schools’ and educators’ methods of introducing this topic in their own classrooms. I provided a list of key terms that students will be able to use for guidance during their studies, both in and outside of this topic. I also provided book and article suggestions that do exemplary work of explaining these policies and their current effects. You will also find a series of videos, lesson plans, primary resources, and activities I have curated/created that can be integrated into various lesson plans. I hope that these resources serve as an educational foundation and a new learning opportunity for all of you!

  • Hazel RichardsI am a History, Comparative Literature, and French major. As an aspiring educator, I think that education is a key part of our society and its progression towards equality and equity. As a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked on the Voting Rights Curriculum team. We worked with students at Pittsfield High School to create a humanities curriculum about voting rights that follows Massachusetts state standards. The lesson plan that I made was about the NAACP, AFL-CIO, NEA, and League of Women Voters. We focused on engaging students and their critical thinking skills.

  • I am a senior majoring in English with a concentration in Africana Studies. As a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked with high school students in Pittsfield to develop curriculum around voter suppression. We ended up creating a series of lesson plans, as well as one or two larger interactive projects.