At AMAZEworks, we believe belonging is a human right. We champion equity and belonging for all. Our work has been challenging, necessary, and rewarding for over 25 years. As you can imagine, creating the conditions for belonging has been particularly important in the last two years. Belonging during a pandemic, amidst racial unrest, and climate collapse is not easy. For some of us, belonging has never been easy. Likely, most of us, if not all of us, have at one time or another experienced the feeling of not belonging. I have. In fact, growing up, I never quite felt like I truly belonged.
As a Korean American adopted into a white family and living in predominantly white communities, I would look in the mirror and wish I was white. As an adult, I have worked hard to disrupt my own internalized racism and to develop a healthy racial and ethnic identity. And yet, it is still an ongoing process for me to find spaces of true belonging where I can show up as all of who I am. So why do I believe AMAZEworks is the best way to champion equity and belonging for all?
As a parent of two children, Emma (16, she/they) and Clara (11, she/her), I have seen the positive impact that an education grounded in anti-bias education and equity can have on child identity development. Their schools and communities center belonging for each of them, and I am grateful that they have a confident sense of self, proud of their Koreanness and biracial identity (Asian and white). Both have an expansive understanding of their own and others’ gender identities and have strong ties to the LGBTQ+ communities of their schools and our neighborhood. Emma also has alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, and has been bald since they were a toddler. However, they have never been teased or shamed for not having hair. It is remarkable to see how my children are growing up with healthy identities, respect across differences, and the ability to notice, name, and reject bias, so different from my own ways of understanding self and others as a child and adolescent.
My experiences growing up in contrast to my children’s experiences is WHY I do this work at AMAZEworks. Comparing their experiences to my own shows me the importance of anti-bias education in creating healthy, complex identities. At AMAZEworks, we have learned that when it comes to creating the conditions for belonging for all, what is good for children is also good for adults. We understand the importance of having intentional conversations about identity, difference, and bias to interrupt prejudice and internalized stereotypes in schools, workplaces, communities, and families.
AMAZEworks champions equity and belonging for all, and we know our work to create anti-bias educators and leaders is more important than ever. We are living in challenging times, polarized and divided across identities and lived experiences. Climate change disasters are having the most devastating effects on the most marginalized, most vulnerable, and least resourced communities. And educators and leaders who are actively working to eliminate racial and other disparities in schools are now targets of dehumanizing rhetoric.
AMAZEworks continues to be a bridge to greater equity and belonging during these challenging times.
Our challenge of the past year and a half has been to be responsive to the changing landscape and needs of educators, schools, and organizations that want to address the structures and systems of racism and oppression that keep us polarized, divided, defensive, disconnected, and dehumanized.
Using our Anti-Bias Education model and Conditions for Belonging framework, we are shifting our educational approach from offering discrete curriculums/programs and one-off workshops for individual educators and schools to a more comprehensive systems change approach for schools and districts that includes ongoing professional development, program implementation support, and coaching/consultation around being an Anti-Bias Educator/Leader.
We have also significantly expanded our work with nonprofits, for-profit businesses, and community and government agencies, as more organizations grapple with what it means to engage with an increasingly diverse and global world. These organizations and institutions are recognizing the need to examine and reimagine policies, procedures, practices, processes, and patterns that are rooted in systems of dominance and oppression, and AMAZEworks supports them on this journey through training, consulting, and coaching.
AMAZEworks as an organization of educators invites you, whether you work with children or other adults, into a learning community with a mindset of transparency, humility, vulnerability, self-reflection, and growth. We are here to help you articulate your personal and professional WHY for equity and belonging and give you anti-bias
tools and resources so you can stay motivated and engaged in the hard
work of individual, interpersonal, and systemic change.
As 2021 comes to a close, we ask you to think about your WHY in championing equity and belonging with us at AMAZEworks. We have seen the power that individuals have to create change in their families, schools, communities, or organizations.
These levels of giving can be the spark to create change:
- $25 donation – supports adding new lessons and books to our curriculum
- $50 donation – supports an adult attending an AMAZEworks training or workshop
- $100 donation – supports a day of teacher task force work
- $250 donation – helps provide one Persona Doll for a teacher
- $500 donation – supports two hours of training for schools and organizations
- $950 donation – provides a book box and training for classrooms
Your support helps AMAZEworks create the conditions of belonging in schools and organizations across the country. Thank you!