Student Advocacy Center was founded in 1975 by a multi-racial group of community members concerned about systemic racism in schools and the systemic reasons Black students were disciplined more harshly than their white peers. The treatment of Black students, expectations, resources, and much more, were deeply concerning. These concerns remain today.
We want to be crystal clear in our strong convictions and in that spirit, share a few key excerpts from our Personnel Policy.
Anti-Oppression and Inclusion
Student Advocacy Center seeks to build workplaces, schools and communities that cultivate a deep sense of belonging for all, particularly for people of color, gender-nonconforming people, people with different abilities, returning citizens, undocumented citizens, and others who experience hate and rejection in our world.
Student Advocacy Center believes our common humanity unites us. We recognize how deeply we are all hurt by racism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism and other violent practices. Those of us with multiple levels of privilege and those most impacted by oppression must be equally invested in creating and facilitating a community that is equitable, human-centered and just. Our liberation is bound together.
Student Advocacy Center celebrates interconnection and diversity. We have a deep commitment to cultural humility and anti-oppressive action. We expressly prohibit discrimination in regard to race, color, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disAbility, religion, veteran status, height, weight, associational preference, or genetic information.
These values show up in our hiring, orientation, training, ongoing supervision, internal dialogue, external dialogue, everyday practices, collaboration and actions.
At Student Advocacy Center, we believe that it’s not enough to be a passive ally. We are an organization striving to be anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic, anti-ableist, anti-sexist and anti-oppressive. This means we are committed to focused and sustained action to dismantle the beliefs, language, actions, policies and systems that uphold racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia and other ways entire groups of people are treated as “less than.” This requires persistent self-awareness, self-criticism, self-examination, and community.
In our internal work, we are committed to ongoing learning about other cultures and experiences, reducing power imbalances and working in partnership with those whose voices too often go unheard. Student Advocacy Center is committed to working, individually and as a team, on examining our own privilege, identifying and addressing the ways racism, homophobia, ableism and other systemically oppressive behaviors show up within ourselves, our organization, and the systems that serve youth. We work to acknowledge our own complicity in oppressive and anti-black policies and structures.
Being an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-oppressive organization means cultivating brave spaces where risk-taking is expected, silence is interrupted, and all feel responsible to take accountability for harm with compassion. Feedback need not be perfectly researched and delivered. We are committed to leaning into discomfort, providing ourselves and others grace.
As we work to be brave in our internal work, organizational work and community work, we will be aware of optical allyship and performative activism, committing to genuine change and action with humility.
Rather than expect staff to blindly assimilate into Student Advocacy Center’s culture, we aspire to co-create an evolving, justice-seeking community based on strong, shared values, interdependence, relationships and dialogue. We move at the speed of trust and love, and recognize that a culture rooted in these values takes time, effort, vulnerability and power-sharing.
Student Advocacy Center is committed to partnering with our families and students in ways that build power, honor their expertise, celebrate their differences, amplify their voices and cultivate brave conversations. We are committed to fostering a reflective and evaluative environment in which all cultures and individuals are valued, respected, elevated and continuously reflected upon and learned from. We remain vigilant in uprooting saviorism and challenging the ways systems defer to “professionals.” We continuously seek ways to communicate this commitment and invite ways to transform, creating truly participatory and beloved community.
In our work with schools and communities, we will forge brave conversations and take action that challenges oppressive systems. We will identify, confront and challenge racist, ableist, homophobic, xenophobic and colonizing practices that remain present in schools and youth-serving systems today. As we do this, we will center the voices of our students and families.
Culture of Community-Centered Philanthropy
- We root our fundraising work in anti-oppression, equity and social justice.
- We view fundraising as a shared responsibility.
- We view fundraising as an opportunity to match the passions and interests of people in the community to the needs we see each day in our work.
- We believe all personally benefit from investing in others and in the common good.
- We act as ambassadors for Student Advocacy Center, sharing our story, impact and need, while maintaining client confidentiality.
- We promote philanthropy and seek out opportunities to support Student Advocacy Center’s mission.
- We see ourselves as part of an interconnected community and actively work to build relationships in and support our community.
- We respect our donors’ integrity and treat donors as partners, which means cultivating brave conversations, acknowledging the complexity of the work, sustaining transparency, and not adhering to donors’ wishes if it ever comes at the expense of our clients and community.
- We foster a sense of belonging in our fundraising work and avoid treating anyone as an “other.” This involves authentic partnership and informed consent with our students/families, as well as thoughtfulness about potential impact, word choice and image choice in our materials to supporters.