COMMUNITY VOICES FOR EQUITY
Community Voices for Equity (CVFE) is a coalition of trained Circle Keepers representing individuals, community members, non-profit sector and community agencies who provide oversight for Mary Magdalene Ministries, and with other organizations advocate for vulnerable communities for equity and justice at the local, state and federal level.
Policy and Community Issues
CVFE is currently advocating on the following issues:
Leandro Vs. NC – Leandro is a landmark case on inadequate education funding brought by five low wealth school districts in 1994, (Halifax, Hoke, Cumberland, Robeson, and Vance). Leandro has not been fully funded since Judge Howard Manning ruled the state was guilty of violating the state constitution by not providing children with a sound basic education. This ruling predominantly affects rural, black, brown, children with disabilities, English language learners. These counties were among the poorest funded in the state and remain toward the bottom when it comes to their ability to support public schools on per pupil basis.
In 2018 Judge Lee ordered WestEd, an independent education consultant to recommend ways the state should comply with Leandro rulings. The report a was released in 2019, and approved in April of 2021.
HB247 – If passed this bill would take away the the wording in the state’s discipline policy that describes what minor offenses are and leaves the discretion to the principal. This decision would adversely affect poor, black, brown, children with disabilities and English language learners forcing them into the School to Prison Pipeline.
Pre-K Suspension are suspended 3 times more than students in grades K-12. Our coalition advocates for increased funding so that child care directors can afford to provide adverse childhood experiences and resilience training to staff so that they can better understand childhood trauma.
EDUCATION LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (ELI)
In 2015, Southern Education Foundation released a bulletin that declared “more than half of all US public school students are from low-income households. Rich and middle class students are fast exiting into private schools; through use of Public School Vouchers (privatized education).
This flight leaves already struggling poor children trapped in public schools without the necessary resources and inequity in the application of the discipline policy. This upcoming crisis demands parents of low income students in public schools to fully participate in the educational process, if students are to be successful. Parents and teachers are needed as allies for student achievement and school resource allocation. The importance of parent involvement is backed by truckloads of research and data.
However, for poor parents there are many barriers, some physical, personal, cultural and sub-cultural barriers leading to gaps in communication.
Itscihwanse is a Zambian word which means “Gather the Women.”
The women gather at a central place. Together they cook food to prepare a delicious table spread and there they discuss the the problems within families, children, and community.
They not only discuss but develop and implement solutions.
When Women Stand in their Power there are no problems we cannot solve.
Wake County Collaborative to Stop Bullying and Youth Violence
The Wake County Collaborative to Stop Bullying and Youth Violence is a coalition of community service providers, organizational leaders, politicians and government entities in Wake County who work collaboratively to sponsor the annual anti-bullying event in October to raise awareness and engage youth in delivering anti bullying messaging through the MLK Arts Competition.
Community Equity Leadership Team
The Community Equity Leadership Team (CELT) is a consortium of community advocates and service providing organizations that promote a more equitable experience for students within Wake County Public Schools.
CELT was born out of the Flood Group’s leadership and the long-standing efforts of organizations like the Education Justice Alliance, Concerned Citizens for the Affairs of African American Children, Legal Aid, and the Mary Magdalene Ministries. We seek to galvanize our efforts, pool resources, and be advocates for equity with the ear of the school board and district leadership while maintaining the voice of the community.
Our efforts have been organized into four work groups: Student Discipline, Parent Outreach, Restorative Practices, and School Improvement Teams. The group has moved forward initiatives, supported community events, and advocated for policies and actions by the board and district. Through CELT policy recommendations have been formulated deemed as key drivers for addressing equity.
Youth Civic Engagement
According to United Negro College Fund, only 3% of black leaders think public schools are preparing students to graduate from school and go on to college; yet there has not been any significant change in educational disproportionality over decades. The Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s, the free expressions movement of the 1960’s, to the actions of the Children of Birmingham in 1963, show that youth have powerful ideas for bringing about change.
We must provide training and opportunity to give students a space to share their perspectives about their experiences in public school and learn advocacy skills to address the need of students in today’ s society. The goal of the Youth Civic Engagement Project is to provide students with an opportunity to learn the history of student involvement in change in civil rights and prepare and engage them in meaningful student involvement. Students must be prepared to be change makers through active involvement in civic engagement. Youth voices around public education can make a powerful change in obtaining adequate funding for low wealth school.
Grassroots Covid Relief
Tides Foundation, Life Comes From It Foundation and special donors gave more than $12,000.00 for Covid relief. The funds helped more than15 community people who had fallen through the cracks with housing and utility assistance.
More than 5000, masks were made by the women from the Unitarian Church and dispersed to hotels, nursing homes, hospital community, HBCUs, daycares, public school students
Youth Entrepreneurial Program
Youth Entrepreneurship in low income and vulnerable communities is vital to building confidence in young people and preparing them with a mindset of owning their own businesses.
It has been proven to improve academic performance and school attendance. It enhances job readiness, problem-solving, teamwork, networking, decision-making skills and self discipline.