Animated Equality & Equity logo

Welcome to the Equality & Equity Project

  • Equality (‘quality or state of being equal’), the ideal for our NSCC community, and to a larger extent, our global community.
  • Equity (‘freedom from bias or favoritism, the quality of being fair and impartial’),  the path to equality.

As part of our commitment to Anti-Racism, Diversity & Inclusion, this page will provide historical and present-day information about the contributions, challenges, culture, and daily lives of the many vital groups that make up our NSCC community, and the larger world. We will regularly highlight important facts, stories, and experiences that traditionally have been omitted from the narrative of our country, and offer steps you can take to combat inequality. This page originated in response to the urgency of Black Lives Matter, and will predominantly feature African Americans in the 2020-2021 academic year. However, this is an ongoing project that intends to honor every group in the rich fabric of NSCC life.

We invite you to visit often, reflect on what you see and read, discuss it with others and, hopefully, expand your knowledge base, appreciation, and understanding of groups beyond your own. Together we can achieve:

Example of equality versus equity versus Justice versus "?"Courtesy of Artist: Angus Maguire/Interaction Institute for Social Change and Center for Story-based Strategy


A consciously aware and understanding environment builds a stronger Comm-Unity.


Deep Dives

Stories, articles or videos to build equality by demonstrating equity.

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Archival photo of Greenwood District with smoke pouring from it.

The burning Greenwood District during the Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. First Street is visible in the foreground on which is located the Bessemer Gas Engine Company and the Eagle Hotel.
University of Tulsa/McFarlin Library Special Collections 

The Tulsa Race Massacre took place May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of White residents, many of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked Black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event is considered one of the single worst incidents of racial violence in American history. The attacks burned and destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the neighborhood – at the time one of the wealthiest Black communities in the United States, known as "Black Wall Street". 

Microaggressions come in many forms. Check out this video called "What kind of Asian are you?"

Video still of Asian women mocking white male micro aggression

Two African men waiting in the cold to escape Ukraine.

European NATO countries bordering Ukraine have welcomed its traumatized neighbors. However, their open-arm welcome is showing stark contrast. Black women, children, and students who are also fleeing Ukraine are being denied entrance to neighboring countries, and have been left out in the cold without life-saving humanitarian assistance. Read these articles for more:

Cambridge Chronicle by Rev. Irene Munroe.
Brookings Institute by Rashawn Ray
The Guardian by Emmanuel Akinwotu and Weronika Strzyżyńska
Independent by May Bulman and Nadine White

 Kamala Harris in iconic recreation of photo of Ruby Bridges walking strongly in front of a white, concrete wall.

Maybe you've seen this picture. Do you know its history? Although Kamala Harris was the first woman, and the first woman of color, to be elected to serve as Vice President of the United States (2020,) she stands on the shoulders of so many, including Ruby Bridges. Read more here.

Old bible on standWhen 19th-century British missionaries arrived in the Caribbean to convert enslaved Africans, they came with a heavily edited version of the Bible. Any passage that might incite rebellion was removed from the “Slave Bible.” In their place, the missionaries emphasized passages that encouraged subservience, like Ephesians 6:5: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters …”

Read more here >

Equity has become quite a hot topic in the education world. Around the country, districts are planning equity initiatives, changing policies and practices, offering training for staff, and engaging students in their efforts to become more equitable. Other terms like equality, diversity, inclusion, and culturally responsive teaching get tossed around, too, which can get a little confusing! So what does educational equity really mean? How does it differ from these other terms? And how can you ensure your classroom practices are producing equitable outcomes? 

Click here to learn more.

Video still of narator sitting on crate on black background
Video still of narator in office
Video still of narator Erica Pernell on a blue background
Video still of smiling student in class


Why is it so hard for women to talk about money? Open up social media, and you’ll see people sharing intimate details of their lives – things they might not even discuss with their closest friends or family – with virtual strangers. But when the conversation shifts to finances, women often clam up, keeping the specifics of their wages private. Even as discussions about equal pay become more common in society, many women still hesitate to talk to each other about their bottom lines. So, what happens when women talk openly and honestly about money? Click the video below to see a discussion about Women and the wage gap.

Four women sitting on a staged set

Racelighting refers to the process whereby People of Color question their own thoughts and actions due to systematically delivered racialized messages that make them second guess their own lived experiences with racism. When experiencing racelighting, People of Color often feel invalidated and become overwhelmed by feelings of inferiority and self-doubt. Here are some examples:

  • A Black staff member who has been passed over for a promotion may start to believe it was because they are not “professional” enough. 
  • A Latinx administrator who receives unnecessarily harsh feedback and destructive criticism of their work from colleagues may begin to question their own intelligence and capabilities.
  • A Native American professor whose scholarship is viewed as lacking rigor because it focuses on racial equity and social justice may question if they belong in the academy.

If you would like to read more about racelighting, below is a PDF of a scholarly brief by Dr. J. Luke Wood and Dr. Frank Harris III, the two authors of the article linked at top.

Read Racelighting in the Normal Realities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color >

Cover of the Racelighting Brief by Wood and Harris 3rd

George Floyd poster at protest in Minnesota

Allyship is committing to support a group you’re not part of, typically a marginalized group. Allies check their privilege and use it to elevate others’ voices. But some say that the term “ally” doesn’t always = action. Enter: the active bystander. That’s when you recognize a conflict and take action to try to diffuse it. Read about the "five Ds" in this article from The Skimm.

It is important to note that though no person alive today created the public education system, it is everyone’s responsibility to address inequities in the system, question power structures and ensure that every group (especially those who have been historically excluded) is represented and has a voice, making it more equitable for all students and families. It is also critically important to understand that the decisions made today create the public education system that impacts both current and future generations of students. To achieve an equitable system tomorrow, the work has to start today.

Learn more from the final installment in the ImpactTulsa multi-part series, Equity in Education.

August 3rd marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, or the day Black women had to work into 2021 to finally catch up to what white, non-Hispanic men earned in 2020. Black women worked 579 days to earn what white men did in 365.

Olympians this year made headlines not for their incredible athletic feats or victories but for the obstacles standing in their way. Athletes everywhere are calling out the sporting body for a history of banning Black women. Read more about it in this article, "The Olympics has a race problem. Athletes everywhere are calling out the sporting body for a history of banning Black women" from Business Insider.

“When I was 16, I walked into my high school counselor’s office with a list of colleges that I wanted to apply to. My mom and I stayed up all night putting it together - weighing the pros/cons of each school, figuring out what majors they had, etc. I was excited and hopeful. I sat down, handed the list over to my counselor, and after she read the first three colleges (in order: UCLA, USC, and UW), she looked up at me with a confused expression. She crumpled the paper up, threw it in the trash, and told me ‘We’re going to look for more realistic options. Shall we?’ I was speechless. For the past 10 years of my life, I had been commuting across three cities to get to school because my parents wanted me to have the best education possible.” ~ Sy Stokes, Ph.D.

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Please watch Dr. Stokes’ spoken word response to this experience in “Dear WhiteCounselor.”

Archival photo of Marsha P. JohnsonIn commemoration of The Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village. At the time, homosexual acts remained illegal in every state except Illinois, and bars and restaurants could get shut down for having gay employees or serving gay patrons. The mere gathering of homosexuals was considered "disorderly." Police raids on gay bars were common, but on that particular night, bar patrons and neighborhood residents resisted as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar. Influenced by activist Marsha P. Johnson, this led to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots launched a new era of resistance and revolution, and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

Letters LGBTQ+ pulsating out of a pride colored heart.


Archival photo of Native Americans at their camp.

The sacred Lakota mountain called The Six Grandfathers, was appropriated to become Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore's creator had ties with white supremacy groups.


According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked 150 percent since the pandemic began. Learn more about the history of anti-Asian racism in the United States in this link to a recent Washington Post article.

Cpl. George Bushy, left, holds the youngest child of Shigeho Kitamoto, center, as she and her children are forced to leave Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 1942. They were sent to an internment camp. (AP)


Cpl. George Bushy, left, holds the youngest child of Shigeho Kitamoto, center, as she and her children are forced to leave Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 1942. They were sent to an internment camp. (AP)

The events of January 6, 2021, rattled the nation to its core. The extreme ideologies that led to the insurrection at the Capitol are reflective of radicalized ideological and theological perspectives that are evident in larger society and on college campuses. Within this context, this video will examine the viewpoints and historical perspectives that led to the events of January 6th. The speakers will also offer recommendations for college and university leaders on how to advocate for justice and reconciliation on our campuses and in our nation. Presented by Cora Learning. Featuring: Luke J.Wood, Lasana Hotep & Frank Harris III (1:26:00)

Keygrame of Insurrection at the Capitol video of Lasana Hotep

Neil Degrasse Tyson photo

There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It’s a Made-Up Label

It’s been used to define and separate people for millennia. But the concept of race is not grounded in genetics.

National Geographic image of African American face overlayed with genetic codeRead the National Geographic story.

This story is part of The Race Issue, a special issue of National Geographic that explores how race defines, separates, and unites us.

Two Wolves

A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.


  • Telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites over other groups;
  • Avoiding people of color whom you do not know personally, but not whites whom you do not know personally (e.g., white people crossing the street to avoid a group of Latino/a young people; locking their doors when they see African American families sitting on their doorsteps in a city neighborhood; or not hiring a person of color because “something doesn’t feel right”);
  • Accepting things as they are (a form of collusion);
  • Voting without exploring a candidate's record on policies relating to equality and equity.
Tyler Merrit photo

Implicit Bias video key frame

A fictional story by Barbara Leahy (1998) where a young boy, Theo, asks his mother, “What if there were no black people?” Theo's mother walks him through the day where all the inventions and contributions that African Americans have made in US history are gone.

Read the story >



Think About This

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“I don't see color.” Yes, you do! COLORBLIND is a term used to describe personal, group, and institutional policies or practices that do not consider race or ethnicity as a determining factor. The term “colorblind” de‐emphasizes, or ignores, race and ethnicity, a large part of one’s identity.

The theory and practice that advocates for educational and occupational equity between men and women is called FEMINISM. It undermines traditional cultural practices that support the subjugation of women by men and the devaluation of women’s contributions to society.

TOKENISM is the practice of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration by, for instance, hiring or appointing a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules.

The term WHITE, referring to people, was created by Virginia slave owners and colonial rules in the 17th century. It replaced terms like Christian and Englishman to distinguish European colonists from Africans and indigenous peoples. European colonial powers established whiteness as a legal concept after Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, during which indentured servants of European and African descent had united against the colonial elite. The legal distinction of white separated the servant class on the basis of skin color and continental origin. The creation of ‘whiteness’ meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of assumed biological and social inferiority.

INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE refers to words or phrases that include both women and men, if applicable. Inclusive language does not assume or connote the absence of women. For example: Use of the words “police officers" instead of “policemen” or “humankind” instead of “mankind.”

IMPLICIT BIAS (aka unconscious or hidden bias) refers to negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. 

SCIENTIFIC RACISM, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority. Published in 1851, “Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race” reframed an enslaved person’s efforts toward freedom as the newly-created “drapetomania,” a "disease of the mind" that “induces the negro to run away from service.”

RAINBOW-WASHING is when a business publicly shows support for the LGBTQ+ community, (think: changing social media avatars or publishing support statements at the start of Pride Month) but privately engages in practices that are detrimental to those who identify as LGBTQ+.

A CISGENDER PERSON is someone whose gender identity corresponds with the sex that person had or was identified as having at birth.      

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. 

WHITE FRAGILITY is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable [for white people], triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

See more glossary terms >

Portrait of smiling Lin-Manuel MirandaThe son of Puerto Rican parents, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning actor, performer and writer known for his groundbreaking Broadway musicals 'In the Heights' and 'Hamilton.' In April 2016, Hamilton won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and in May, the musical set a new record when it was nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in Broadway history. 





A smiling Cecilia Chung speaking with microphoneSince the early 1990s, Cecelia Chung, an Asian American HIV-positive transgender woman, has been one of the leading voices advocating for transgender rights. “When I was coming into the movement, transgender people were dying left and right—not just because of violence, but because of what we later found out was HIV. We weren’t just fighting for our rights, we were fighting for our lives by demanding treatment and more research. We were also demanding to be seen as human beings.” Today, Chung is an internationally recognized civil rights leader.



archival photo of Marsha P. JohnsonMarsha P. Johnson was an African-American transgender women whose activism in the 1960s and 70s had a huge impact on the LGBTQ+ community. At that time, being gay was classified as a mental illness in the United States. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by police, and were shunned by many in society.

In June 1969, when Marsha was 23 years old, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, forcing over 200 people out of the bar and onto the streets, and then using excessive violence against them. Marsha was one of the key figures who stood up to the police during the raid and, in the following days, led a series of protests and riots demanding rights for gay people. News of these protests spread around the world, inspiring others to join protests and rights groups to fight for equality.

A month after the protests, the first openly gay march took place in New York - a pivotal moment for the gay and trans community everywhere.



Cory WitherallHailing from the Navajo tribe, Cory Witherill became the first full-blooded Native American to race in the Indy 500 in 2001, placing 19 out of 33. (The race was founded in 1911.) In 2002, he went to the Infiniti Pro Series, and won the Nashville Indy Pro race in 2002. Cory's professional career spanned from 1997 to 2004. He is now known for his public service and charity work within the Native American community.


Ellen Ochoa in NASA uniform

Ellen Ochoa made her mark by becoming the first Hispanic American woman to go to space with a nine-day mission in 1993. Through her impressive research work, NASA selected Ochoa in 1991 and she became an astronaut in July of that year. Two years later, Ochoa made history on board the Space Shuttle Discovery on a mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer. She later completed three more missions.


Colorized portrait of Richard SpikeWhether you are shifting gears in your car, storing away a billiard cue, braking safely on a bus, or tapping a beer keg, you owe thanks to African American inventor Richard Spikes. A holder of eight patents, Spikes is responsible for a number of diverse creations that have a major impact on our everyday lives.





George Helm Jr. playing guitarGeorge Helm Jr. dedicated his short life to preserving the native culture of Hawaii. Helm was born on the Molokai island of Hawaii, became a renowned philosopher, and is seen as a pioneer of Hawaiian sovereignty movement, aiming to bring independence back to the islands. In 1975, Helm became involved in the efforts to protect the island of Kaho’olawe from being used as bomb target practice by the U.S. Navy. The next year, he and eight others occupied the island in efforts to protect it.



Alan TuringWorld War II codebreaker, Alan Turing, often referred to as the “father of computer science and artificial intelligence,” was hailed a British war hero for helping to defeat the Nazis. Despite this, however, he died as a disgraced “criminal” — simply for being a gay man. On June 23, 2021, what would have been his 109th birthday, the Bank of England began circulating its new £50 bank notes celebrating Turing’s life and his achievements.



black and white portrait of Susan La Flesche PicotteSusan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, graduating from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1889. A member of the Omaha tribe, she grew up on the Omaha Reservation in northeast Nebraska, where she once watched a native woman die because the local white doctor refused to give her care. She returned to Nebraska, where she established a private practice serving both Native American and white patients. Two years before her death in 1915, she achieved her life’s dream when she opened her own hospital on the Omaha Reservation—the first hospital built on Native American land without government assistance.



George SampsonAfrican American inventor, George T. Sampson, developed and patented the country’s first automatic clothes dryer in 1892. Sampson refined an existing process with a series of suspension rods over a specially designed stove. His design was used until the growth in use of gas and electric dryers in the late 1930s and early 1940s.




See more historical figures >

The United States Supreme Court was established in 1789 and assembled in 1790. Since then there has been 115 Justices. On April 7th, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history by being confirmed as the first Black woman on Supreme Court by a vote of 53-47.


The Chinese New Year starts February 1st, and many people will join in the celebrations. But did you know? “Smart.” “Hard-working.” “Nice.” were among the adjectives that respondents offered up in a recent poll when asked to describe Asian Americans. Characterizing Asian Americans as a “model minority” flattens the diverse experiences of Asian Americans into a singular, narrow narrative. It paints a misleading picture about the community that doesn't align with current statistics and perpetuates difficulties such as the “bamboo ceiling.” Here is a link to some common misconceptions driven by the model minority myth. 


Temple Grandin

Meet scientist and industrial designer Temple Grandin, an animal welfare and autism advocate who is one of the most respected experts in both autism and animal behavior in the world. While her mother suspected that Grandin was on the spectrum when she was a teenager, Grandin was not formally diagnosed until she was in her 40s. Grandin became a fellow at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and won an award from PETA for advocating for more humane treatment of animals. She was also featured in the 2010 HBO film “Temple Grandin.”  

Temple Grandin sitting on red couch wearing a black and blue western shirt and pants.


Letters LGBTQ+ pulsating out of a pride colored heart.As Pride Month comes to a close, a recap: The 1969 Stonewall Uprising marked a turning point in the quest for gay rights. In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, but a year later, 49 people were killed and 53 were wounded in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In 2020, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964 protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination but, in 2021, extending full protections through an amendment to the Civil Rights Act, called the Equality Act, still struggles for approval in Congress.


Commemorated annually on June 19th, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Sep. 22, 1862, after the Civil War ended in April 1865 most slaves in Texas were still unaware of their freedom. This began to change when Union troops arrived in Galveston as part of a six-week ride through Texas to spread the news. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read ‘General Orders No. 3’ on June 19, 1865, informing the people of Texas that “… all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.” Freed African Americans observed “Emancipation Day,” as it was first known, as early as 1866 in Galveston.

You can learn more about the historical legacy of Juneteenth at The Smithsonian’s site: 


Junetenth flag raising animation

The Juneteenth flag will be flown this month for the first time at North Shore Community College. The flag’s symbolism includes:

  • The star burst: representing the significance of Galveston, Texas in Juneteenth, and the nova-like quality representing new beginnings for African Americans in all 50 states.
  • The curved surface indicates a horizon, a dawn of fresh opportunity and possibility for African Americans.
  • The red, white and blue represents the American flag as a reminder that enslaved people and their descendants were and are Americans.
  • The date, June 19, 1865, represents the day when enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas were told that they were free under the law, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation became official in 1863.

North Shore Junteenth Association Inc. is a group of community leaders seeking to create awareness about the Juneteenth holiday, and educate the broader community about positive aspects of African American culture. If you want to get more involved or learn more, please check out their website,


Many companies have recruiting channels that are predominantly white. Work with your Human Resources department to recruit Americans who are descendants of enslaved Africans. Recruiting from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is a good start.


See more historical facts >


This is an example of white privilege: If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

Even more importantly: What was your reaction the last time you saw a police officer? Fear? Relief? Local politicians make a point of visiting community organizations and talking with constituents (to get to know what they can do in their role as part of the government). Has a police officer visited your community organization? Have you ever had a friendly conversation with a police officer?

Proximity breeds care and distance breeds fear.

This is an example of male privilege:
If I have children and pursue a career, no one will think I'm selfish for not staying at home.

This is an example of Christian privilege:
Your faith can be an aspect of your identity without being a defining aspect (e.g., people won’t think of you as their “Christian” friend)

This is an example of heterosexual (straight) privilege:
Because of my sexual orientation, I do not need to worry that people will harass or assault me.

This is an example of white privilege:
I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

This is an example of heterosexual (straight) privilege:
People don't ask why I made my choice to be public about my sexual orientation.

This is an example of Christian privilege:
You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.

This is an example of white privilege:
I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

See more examples of privilege >

Be an ally: An ally is a supporter of another person, idea, initiative or community, even when the ally doesn't share that identity or belief system. For example, men can be allies to cisgender and transgender women; straight people can be allies to lesbian, gay and bisexual people; atheists can be allies to people of faith; and vice versa.


Eighty-six percent (86%) of black teens who experience discrimination state they have experienced discrimination based on their hair by the age of 12.  H.R. 2116 also known as the the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) passed along party lines in the House with a vote of 235-189 on March 18. Hair discrimination is one step closer to being banned across the country with a vote by Senate.


Be an ally. When discussing different experiences and points of view, expect and accept non-closure. “Hang out in uncertainty” and try not to rush to quick solutions, especially in relation to racial understanding. This can be heavy, confusing, and lead to more questions than answers. Remember that you are engaging in an adaptive process, not implementing technical solutions.


Be an ally. Work on ensuring that Black educators are hired where Black children are being taught. If you want to know more about why and how this makes a difference for Black children, check out this episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast.


Be an ally. Speaking up when witnessing a microaggression at work isn’t necessarily easy because of power dynamics. So, have a couple of stock phrases to pull out when you need them at work, or anywhere. For example: “What makes you say that?” “We don’t do that here.” “I don’t get it. Can you explain the joke to me?” “Wow, that was awkward.” Here is a link to other responses towards microaggressions.


December 3 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities as declared by the UN. Be an ally. Becoming a good ally is a process and a journey. Understand that you will make mistakes but know that it is better to be an imperfect ally, than nothing at all. Start by following these steps at this link and come ready to learn and be corrected if you misstep.


Be an ally. Recognize that there is a difference between ‘safety’ and ‘comfort.’ As adult learners we are each responsible for our own physical and emotional safety. Often, in situations of cross cultural disagreement individuals may assume they are unsafe, when in reality they are simply uncomfortable. Demonstrate bravery and lean into that discomfort so that we can each remain engaged and move forward together.


Be an ally. Practice using “both/and” thinking. This perspective invites us to see that more than one reality or perspective can be true at the same time, rather than seeing reality as strictly either/or, right or wrong, good or bad, this or that. Using “both/and” thinking can be very helpful in reconciling differences and conflicts that do not present easy solutions.  


Be an ally. Find out how American history is taught in your local schools and whose voices and perspectives are represented. In A People’s History of the United States, historian and political scientist Howard Zinn aims to write an account of American history from the perspective of persecuted, powerless, marginalized people, instead of the usual “heroes.”


Be an ally. Speak up in your own social circles. You may have access to social circles that others do not. Perhaps you have heard racist, sexist, homophobic or derogatory language used by family members or friends? Take some time at your next family reunion to challenge peoples’ beliefs, and speak up for those who are not there.


See more ways to combat inequality >

If you have any questions or comments on NSCC’s Equality & Equity Project, please contact
us at


Chief Diversity Officer & Additional NSCC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Groups

Nikki Pelonia, Chief Diversity & Equity Officer
Equity and Inclusion Collaborative
Anti-Racism Working Group
Forum on Tolerance
Diversity Leadership Council 

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