“All of my life experiences up to this point have prepared me for this very moment,” said Ronda Taylor Bullock in a Facebook post Tuesday, January 30. Bullock announced that her organization we are (working to extend anti-racist education) has received a $125,000 grant from the Kenan Charitable Trust to further its transformative programming in three Durham public schools over the next two years.
Bullock and her team will continue to work at Durham’s Eastway Elementary, E.K. Powe Elementary, and Southwest Elementary, where we are has established a presence and formed relationships with students, staff, and community members. With this groundwork in place, we are can focus on maximizing its impact in the coming years.
“It feels really good to be in spaces where people believe in our mission,” Bullock said. “With this grant, I want to build upon the foundation that the schools’ leadership has already put in place.”
As a former high school teacher, Bullock witnessed first-hand how children of color are acutely impacted by disproportionate educational experiences. As she completes her PhD. at UNC’s School of Education, Bullock is determined to improve these negative student outcomes by offering we are‘s anti-racist training at summer camps, professional development conferences, and parent workshops.
Bullock estimates that we are has educated more than 600 students, staff, and community members over the past three years. Program activities range from addressing race consciousness through paint with children to identifying racial biases in curricula with educators. Fostering an awareness of systemic educational inequity is an important first step in empowering educational communities to make necessary changes.
“We want teachers to be more conscious of the systems in their schools that are helping some students while harming others,” Bullock said. “This is something that many educators never learned about at their educational preparatory programs. Many of them want to be trained and want to do better.”
Bullock shaped we are into a successful social venture during an 18-month residency with CUBE, the Campus Y’s social innovation incubator. CUBE provided Bullock with access to entrepreneurial mentors, capacity building workshops and networking opportunities as she formed and expanded her business model. $5,000 in seed funding from the CUBE (provided with support from the Kenan Charitable Trust) enabled Bullock to pilot we are‘s summer camp model and then to build on the successes of the proof of concept.
“The CUBE has been a phenomenal resource for different connections and opportunities. This continues even today,” Bullock said. “[The CUBE’s program director] Laura Fieselman will still reach out to introduce me to people she thinks I should meet. This has been so helpful in spreading our message and connecting with the right people who can support our work.”
Fieselman is proud to see we are flourish.
“Ronda exemplifies the type of student social entrepreneur that CUBE wants to support. She brings a strong understanding of a social problem to the table, and is committed to using the tools of business entrepreneurship to build solutions,” Fieselman said. “We are grateful to see the Kenan Charitable Trust continue supporting this venture as we are grows and proud to be part of the network that has helped we are launch.”
Bullock is thankful to her passionate team, supportive community, and engaged participants for we are‘s success. The Kenan Charitable Trust grant will allow we are to reach more students and educators, which she believes can lead to greater impact throughout the whole school system, local community and beyond.