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Stand Together partners with the LeBron James Family Foundation to break down barriers in education

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Stand Together partners with the LeBron James Family Foundation to break down barriers in education

I PROMISE Huddle advocates for increased access to quality education for students.

November 17, 2020
A child works on school work out of a work book

Stand Together believes a student's educational experience should empower them to discover their unique abilities, turn them into valued skills, and apply them in ways that contribute to society. Recently, Stand Together partnered with the LeBron James Family Foundation to address some of the biggest issues and barriers facing our students, including residential assignment, at the inaugural I PROMISE Huddle in Akron, Ohio.

Every student deserves an equal shot at a quality education that meets their individual needs and to move toward a more student-centric mode. We have to challenge the old way of doing things. 

We know there's a better way forward, and it starts with addressing one of the biggest barriers to educational equity: residential assignment. 

As communities across the country continue to confront injustices and work to overcome some of the most pressing challenges facing our country, the I Promise Huddle will continue to serve as a reoccurring forum focused on convening diverse perspectives and opposing viewpoints to ask hard questions, highlight solutions, and accelerate transformative models to improve communities, systems, and education for all students and families. At the inaugural Huddle, we were able to hold an honest and open dialogue about residential assignment and the barriers holding students back — and there's so much more to come. 

"To create real change, we must have an open and honest dialogue about what is happening and model actionable ways to fix these issues," said Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. "The purpose of the Huddle is to not just talk about these injustices that have held some members of our communities back for so long. We want to bring together people to share our passion for this hard work and engage and empower them to activate their own communities."

With the public I PROMISE School and I PROMISE Village in Akron, Ohio, as the backdrop, the inaugural Huddle featured speakers and conversations centered around injustices in education that deny students an equal opportunity to learn that meets their unique needs instead of forcing students to attend schools because of where their parents live. 

"Assigning kids to schools based on their ZIP code perpetuates historical injustices in K-12 education and must be ended if we are to live up to our country's ideals of equality and justice," said Brian Hooks, CEO of Stand Together. "Now is the time to take action so that every child has the opportunity to realize their potential."

Speakers and panelists included award-winning authors, national activists, nonprofit leaders, student activists, and I PROMISE partners from every phase of LeBron's journey in dynamic conversations leading to tangible solutions. 

You can experience the Huddle by watching the video below.

Some of the Huddle's speakers and discussion topics are included below, and a full list can be found here.

  • A roundtable with Tim DeRoche, author of "A Fine Line: How Most American Kids are Kept out of the Best Public Schools" and Rebecca Sibilia, Founder of EdBuild, on the separate and unequal reality of Americas public schools.
  • An in-depth look at what it means to be color brave with Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments. 
  • A conversation with Dr. Victor Rios, award-winning professor, author, and former high school drop-out and juvenile delinquent turned founder of Project GRIT, moderated by one of LeBron's high school "330 Ambassador" students.
  • A student-driven town hall with youth activists from across the nation, moderated by Askia Ahmad, managing director of Stand Together; featuring student activists from yes. every kid., Student Group on Race Relations, and the I PROMISE program highlighting the youth leaders defining a new goal for public education.  
  • An intimate conversation with I PROMISE School Principal, Brandi Davis, and an I PROMISE family about the trauma of American poverty and how it impedes learning. 
  • A conversation with Rajiv Vinnakota, President of The Woodrow Wilson Foundation, about the importance of engaging young people in civic learning to address communities' biggest challenges. 
  • A conversation about leadership, building coalitions and bridging divides with Michele Campbell, executive director of the LJFF and Evan Feinberg, executive director of the Stand Together Foundation.

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