How to persuade people of the need for racial justice and equity

What We Know

To achieve justice for people who are Black, Hispanic, and Native American through increased learning after high school, we must help people understand why that’s important, what systemic barriers exist, and how they can make a difference.

We can’t enter the conversation at an advanced stage of the journey—we must meet people where they are. This means we shouldn’t confuse them with terms such as “equity,” which means different things to different people. Or alienate potential allies by putting them on the defensive.

At Lumina, we recognized that we needed to equip ourselves—and our partners—to have these conversations. And now we’re sharing what we’ve learned in the form of research and tools you can take and apply to your own efforts.

We believe that everyone has a right to real opportunity. No matter where you come from, what you look like, or how much money your family has, everyone should have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. But opportunity is not yet equal in America: It’s still decided by who you are and where you come from.

Policies, practices, and beliefs—rooted in history and still affecting people today—keep many people of color from receiving the education and building skills they need to become informed citizens and succeed in a global economy. These systemic barriers unfairly hold back people who simply want a better education and a better life.

We can make opportunity for them real by taking real action together to remove obstacles these students encounter and make education work better for everyone. When we ensure real outcomes for every individual, we can right wrongs and realize just and fair outcomes for all.

Self Assessment

How should I talk about racial justice?

Take this assessment of your values and your audiences to receive tailored advice to help you talk fearlessly and authentically about the need to achieve racial justice. You can adapt this Equity Frame to support communication of every kind for any audience.

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NATIONAL SURVEY FINDINGS

Here's what Americans believe about opportunity and the pitfalls of talking about "equity"


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EQUITY TALKING TOOLS

How you can take action

Are you a Lumina grantee, nonprofit, or just want to communicate about racial equity in a way that makes sense for your community or the people you serve or need to persuade?

Use Lumina’s Message Manual to reach people, start conversations, and shift mindsets.

RESOURCES

Get Help Talking About Racial Justice

OUR EXPLORATION OF RACE AND SOCIETY

How we talk about racial justice and equity

At Lumina, we hold ourselves accountable for making a difference. We begin by explicitly addressing the role race plays in perpetuating unjust educational outcomes. With every passing day, we realize we can—and must—do more to lift our voices and elevate our actions to build a fair and just society for people who have long been prevented from realizing their potential. Click through to learn more about our journey, which is nowhere near complete.

Our Journey Toward Racial Justice
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As America faces its racial equity challenges, HBCUs provide critical solutions

While today’s college students are experiencing the uncertainties caused by a global pandemic, racial injustice, and high unemployment rates, those same circumstances present the opportunity to build one of the most resilient and influential graduating classes in recent history, according to Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University.
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Lumina is setting aside $15 million over the next three years to help eradicate systemic racism

At Lumina Foundation, we are committed to expanding economic opportunity and broadening social mobility by making high-quality learning after high school available to everyone.
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Policymaking to aid Black borrowers shouldn’t happen without Black experts in the room

In an interview with Dominique Baker, assistant professor of education policy, Simmons School of Education & Human Development, Southern Methodist University, I discussed the importance of Black voices in policy dialogues about affordability and student borrowing. Read more on Lumina’s “Borrowers of Color” project.
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Ending structural racism starts with honing our collective ‘EJQ’

Organizations that seek to live the values of racial justice and equity often describe their journeys as a transformation. They know they’ve arrived when the opportunity for every individual to learn, grow, and thrive in American society is no longer predicated on race or ethnicity.
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Lumina Webinar: How HBCUs are working together for student success and social justice

HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are centers of academic excellence and community-building, and committed advocates for racial equity and social justice.
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Hoosier leaders must act to curb racial injustice by creating real opportunity through higher learning

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve has awakened many Hoosiers to the fact that the racial discrimination we had hoped was a thing of the past still infects every facet of our society. We see it in policing and criminal justice, in a disproportionately high death rate from COVID-19 among African Americans, and in unemployment rates among people of color that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
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We grieve because of racial injustice. We hope because our work to help more people learn creates opportunity.

The tragic, senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the resulting cries of anguish have profoundly affected all of us at Lumina Foundation.
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Lumina grants boost racial equity efforts during crisis

I am unapologetic in my beliefs, my thoughts, and my work. Yes, it took some time to get there. It took a commitment to pushing boundaries for racial equality and inclusion. It took remaining steadfast in lifting up the voices of those who aren’t always heard.
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Fifty years after protests, civil rights advocates are needed more than ever

We can’t achieve racial equity in higher education without an avid defense of civil rights. Within the past year, Lumina Foundation has focused on supporting civil rights organizations to increase their capacity to advocate for federal policies that can better serve today’s students.
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Equity: Everything and the kitchen sink

Equity seems to be the “it” term of the day when it comes to student success. You’d be hard pressed to find an institutional plan or statewide task force report focused on attainment that doesn’t reference a commitment to equity, diversity, or inclusion.
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