Alameda Regional Academy Spotlight

The African American Male Leaders Network group at their most recent gathering.

January 30, 2023

Focus on equity and inclusion for our most marginalized and underserved leaders

In the Alameda Regional Academy, we are focused on students in our region who are marginalized and underserved as well as leaders who are marginalized because of their racial identity. We began this work in 2020 by launching the African American Male Leaders Network (AAMLN). The need to deepen our work toward justice to support these leaders in the unique challenges they face was highlighted by the social movement sparked by George Floyd’s murder. With the success of the AAMLN, we were inspired to hold discussion groups at our Leading for Justice Summit in June of 2022 to determine interest for Latino, Latina, and AAPI affinity groups. The discussion groups generated positive responses and in fall 2022, we launched the Latino Leaders Network. In January 2023, we are launching the Asian American Pacific Islander Leaders Network. Additionally we look forward to starting an affinity group for Latina leaders. Another important highlight from this work includes the AAMLN facilitators presentation at the UCEA conference in Seattle, WA last November. Our hope is to continue to share the importance of affinity groups.

Affinity spaces are collaboratively designed with participant input to create safe spaces where open dialogue, relational understanding of daily experiences, and empowerment occur for each leader. The work is inspired and informed by the Othering and Belonging framework. Othering, as defined by UC Berkeley’s john a. powell and Stephen Mendenian, occurs across race, gender, sexuality, class, age, ability and other conditions of humanity. Belonging is the framing of full inclusion where no person is left out of the circle of concern and all members have a meaningful voice (more at Othering and Belonging Institute or OBI). Additionally, we feel it is important to connect the affinity networks. Again, inspired by the work of OBI, we seek to address tensions that sustain division in order to develop a new “we” that is not only more inclusive, but cohesive, durable, and consistent with bringing about belonging and greater social justice (see also Bridging: Towards A Society Built on Belonging).

Through this work, we intend to build lasting inter-group, inter-district relationships that are sustained by the participants themselves.