Social Justice and Equity

The mental health issues faced by students surrounding COVID-19 have been amplified by societal issues surrounding inequities and systemic racism.  This addition to the toolkit seeks to meet three objectives.


Objective 1

To provide easy access to helpful resources for educators, parents/caregivers, and other stakeholders.


Objective 2

To provide tools for school districts or individual schools to use as they assess their current levels of cultural awareness, culturally competency, and examine current policies and practices through an equity lens. In addition, this objective addresses ways to enhance school climate and culture through professional development.


Objective 3

To provide tools for individuals or small groups to educate themselves about issues surrounding  race, ethnicity, and sexual identity and orientation. These resources may be used by a single person or as part of a professional learning community.

National Equity Project logo.

The National Equity Project's Resources for Navigating the Dual Pandemics of COVID-19 and Racial Violence provides numerous resources to learn about educational equity, to "eliminate inequitable practices and cultivate the unique gifts, talents and interests of every child, so that success and failure are no longer predictable by student identity - racial, cultural, economic, or any other social factor.”


These resources support district level administrators as they seek to create equitable and just learning environments for all students.  Included are assessment tools, as well as resources to take the next steps to becoming an inclusive and welcoming school district.

Justice Equality Democracy image from the Racial Justice Assessment Tool.

Assessment Tools - Racial Equity


Racial Equity Analysis Tool

This toolkit, provided by Seattle Public Schools, helps educational leaders create an “equity lens” as they evaluate current policies, initiatives, instructional practices, professional development, and budget issues to improve equity access and opportunity. 


Racial Justice Assessment Tool 

Assessment instrument from the Western States Center helps districts look at programs, power dynamics, staffing and cultural competence.

NSCC’s school climate improvement process is a data-informed, people-driven, and a cyclical five-stage process.

Assessment Tools - School Climate


National School Climate Center

Provides tools for schools to measure school climate, school climate resources, and bullying prevention tools


The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE)

Offers information and technical assistance to States, districts, schools, institutions of higher learning, and communities focused on improving school climate and conditions for learning. We believe that with the right resources and support, educational stakeholders can collaborate to sustain safe, engaging and healthy school environments that support student academic success.


The Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) 

A nationally-recognized school climate survey that provides an in-depth profile of your school community’s particular strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

SEAD Shifting The Focus diagram.
Cover page of Cops and No Counselors ACLU document.
Cover of We Came to Learn Action Kit.

Curriculum Development


Social, Emotional, and Academic Development through an Equity Lens: The Education Trust 2020 

Curriculum development and selection often begins at the district level, including Social, Emotional, and Academic Development initiatives (SEL). This report guides educators to create equity-focused SEL Academic Development programs.  Resources include:

  • Introduction: Re-envisioning Social, Emotional, and Academic Development 

  • Social, Emotional, and Academic Development in Context: Why It Matters 

  • Focus Group Findings: How Students and Families of Color Approach Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.

  • Shifting the Focus: Moving Away From “Fixing Kids” to Creating an Equitable Learning Environment.

  • Where to Start: Action Items for Equitably Approaching Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

General Resources Addressing Equity and Social Justice


Social, Emotional, and Academic Development through an Equity Lens: The Education Trust 2020)

The Education Trust is a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families (EdTrust, 2020). This research-based resource helps educators to create equity focused social, emotional, and academic development programs.


Cops and No Counselors

Provides information regarding the lack of counseling support in the schools and the need for mental health support, also outlines the inappropriate use of student resource officers in the school setting


We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools  

This Action Kit provides historical information, research and strategies  to build the capacity of students and the communities to influence local policy at the intersection of policing, racial justice, youth organizing and education.


The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE)

Offers information and technical assistance to States, districts, schools, institutions of higher learning, and communities focused on improving school climate and conditions for learning. We believe that with the right resources and support, educational stakeholders can collaborate to sustain safe, engaging and healthy school environments that support student academic success.



This section recognizes the integral role all adults in a school setting play in the life of a student. These resources focus on creating a school climate that is respectful of all races, ethnicities, cultures and identities, and orientations. 

Adding an Equity Lens to School-Wide Programs


Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) Equity Resources

Provides information regarding how PBIS can be used in a school to promote student success and decrease suspensions. Presentations include topics such as “Neutralizing Implicit Bias in School Discipline.”


Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Family Engagement in the Time of COVID-19

The practice of developing equal partnerships with families should be rooted in a knowledge of the social and cultural identities, assets, habits, and contacts that families bring to the learning process. Each district will utilize different means of communication for different family situations (perhaps begin with a multilingual survey).


Tools for Educators to Listen to and Learn from Families During COVID-19 School Closures Provides “scripts” - including Spanish - for home/school communication and a spreadsheet for tracking family needs and responses. It also contains a questionnaire to assess the family’s resources and readiness to engage in remote learning. 

Cover page of ATN's Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning guide.

Resources for School Personnel


Implicit Bias Module Series

This course will introduce you to insights about how our minds operate and help you understand the origins of implicit associations. You will also uncover some of your own biases and learn strategies for addressing them. Each module is divided into a short series of lessons, many taking less than 10 minutes to complete.


Proactive School Counseling: Turning Awareness Into Action 

Webinar that discusses ways to advocate within your school and ways to have tough conversations about racism. 


Proactive Counseling in the Aftermath of Major Racial Incidents 

Webinar that discusses ways to address silence in regards to racism and managing the aftermath of racially charged incidents. 


Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning 

A guide to help educators develop the skills to fight injustice within their schools and communities. 


Harvard College of Education Supporting LGBTQIA Youth Resource List 

A great resource guide for educators in supporting LGBTQ youth. 

Guidance on Culturally Responsive Sustaining Remote Education: Centering Equity, Access, and Educational Justice 

This N.Y.U. resource provides relevant information for teachers, parents and administrators to use to advocate for accessibility and equity for vulnerable communities.  It includes  guidance on designing remote education that is flexible and seeks to integrate the arts, culture and creativity, including social media, to promote learning that is racially and culturally affirming.

Resources for Classroom Instruction


Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators

A resource to help educators understand and address the interplay of race and trauma and its impact in the classroom.  A complement to the Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators


Facing History and Ourselves 

Current events in our nation impact students in schools.  This resource provides educator resources on events that are relevant and timely. Email updates are also available as new resources are added.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture; Talking about Race

This educator-facing resource provides content and resources to better understand racial inequity. 


Teaching Voting Rights in the Time of Coronavirus

Provides historically accurate information for students about the struggle for voting rights with the additional threat presented by the coronavirus pandemic. 


Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Resource for Parents, Educators and Students  

Resource includes educational programs and training, anti-bias tools and strategies, “the best” children’s literature on bias, diversity and social justice and k-12 lesson plans.


Teaching for Black Lives

Resources to help teachers connect curriculum to students’ lives, concerns and daily experiences.


Teaching Tolerance

Classroom resources (lesson plans, activities, posters, and films) that facilitate discussions regarding race, diversity, and inclusion. Includes Social Justice standards for curriculum development.

Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom document cover.
Artwork by illustrator Boris Séméniako of a young Black woman weaing red clothing and a blue surgical mask, holding a notepad while pushing back a blue curtain decorated with historically significant motifs, as she exits a voting booth.
Cover of Book "Interrrupting Racism", title in dark bar at bottom of image of chilren of diverse races and genders wearing colorful shirts.
Cover of Book "The Racial Healing Handbook" light blue cover with faint sunburst background, title is dark blue and multicolored text in warm tones.
Cover of book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?", with white background, red letters of title.
Cover of book "Stamped: Racism, AntiRacism, and You, A Remix" with white background, a sillohuette of a Black person from the shoulders up with natural hair in profile, horizontal red bars evenly spaced over the persons profile, Title in blue, bold, block capital letters.
Cover of book "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas, white background with illustration of young Black woman with natural hair and cutoff shorts holding sign with book title displayed.
Cover of book "I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness" by Austin Channing Brown; green back ground with black and white block text of title and author.

Professional Development/Personal Growth Resources

Books, Interviews, and Podcasts


Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling by Rebecca Atkins and Alicia Olgesby.   Interrupting Racism provides school counselors with a brief overview of racial equity in schools and practical ideas that a school-level practitioner can put into action. The book walks readers through the current state of achievement gap and racial equity in schools and looks at issues around intention, action, white privilege, and implicit bias. Includes interrupting racism case studies and stories from school counselors about incorporating stakeholders into the work of racial equity. Activities, lessons, and action plans promote self-reflection, staff-reflection, and student-reflection and encourage school counselors to drive systemic change for students through advocacy, collaboration, and leadership.


Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing by Anneliese A. Singh, PhD, LPC .  The Racial Healing Handbook (and supplement to reading) offers practical tools to help you navigate daily and past experiences of racism, challenge internalized negative messages and privileges, and handle feelings of stress and shame. You’ll also learn to develop a profound racial consciousness and conscientiousness, and heal from grief and trauma. Most importantly, you’ll discover the building blocks to creating a community of healing in a world still filled with racial microaggressions and discrimination.


Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum 

Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.


Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

by Ibram X Kendi   

Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America - more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. As award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.


Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi 

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.


31 Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance 

Recommendations about how to evaluate ‘diverse’ and ‘multicultural’ children’s books.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Movie trailer 

Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed  childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer.

Brené Brown with Austin Channing Brown 'I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness' 

The “Unlocking Us” podcast discusses Brown’s antiracist work, book I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, and talk about her online television show, The Next Question. 


Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist 

The “Unlocking Us” podcast discusses with Ibram ways to be a true antiracist. 

Teaching Tolerance

Deepen your knowledge and improve your practice with Teaching Tolerance podcasts. Each episode explores an aspect of a Teaching Tolerance topic or framework and is produced with educators in mind. Subscribe via Apple iTunes, Google Music, Stitcher, or Spotify.

Video Resources

Uncomfortable Conversations With A Blackman  Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt African Americans are feeling today.

I Am Not Your Negro Official Trailer (2016)  Directed By: Raoul Peck - James Baldwin Documentary on race, rage and the American Dream. Raoul Peck's fluid documentary uses the timeless anger of James Baldwin to animate his history of the black experience in America, from Hollywood stereotypes to police brutality.


Just Mercy: Story of Justice and Redemption  by Bryan Stevenson.  Powerful, true story about the equal justice initiative, the people we represent, and the importance of confronting injustice.


Selma (trailer) directed by Ava DuVernay.  Drama depicting the incredible story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery to secure equal voting rights.  Amazon Video

When They See Us directed by Ava DuVernay.  Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they are falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park.  Based on a true story.   Netflix 

Culturally Responsive Education Hub - Stories

The CRE documentary series examines what it would take to establish a positive school culture that respects and honors youth of all races, cultures and abilities and values families and communities as assets and experts to help build the capacity of school staff to engage cultures effectively, and why culturally responsive education is an effective strategy. Our shared future must include school cultures and climates where children see themselves reflected and respected in their curriculum—in every class, every grade, every day.

Cover page of "Ring the Alarm" document. A black and white picture of a young Black child seated on floor in a corner with head in hands surrounded by scattered papers and schoolbooks.
2020 BIPOC and LGBTQ+ mental health fact sheet with statistics in colorful bars and graphs.

Mental Health Resources


American Counselor Association and Human Rights Campaign-Provides resources for mental health providers on supporting LGBTQ+ students during COVID-19 and how to promote resiliency in LGBTQ+ students


Mental Health Supports for Students of Color During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic Financial insecurity, disproportionate rates of  COVID-19, and nationwide protests in response to anti-Black racism have exacerbated the already disparate mental health needs of many Black, Indigenous, and non-Black people of color (BIPOC). In particular, BIPOC students are experiencing all of these traumas on top of the isolation of social distancing and remote learning.

Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Cope is a set of thirteen resources gathered by psychologist and Georgetown University faculty member, Dr. Jamela Barber and the Black Mental Health Alliance to address the trauma and emotional stress experienced by Black people who have been disproportionately impacted by the corona virus outbreak, along with the recent police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed to demand justice for his death.


Ring the Alarm:  The Rise of Black Youth Suicide in America Data is showing an alarming increase in black youth suicide that runs counter to the historically lower rates in this population and raises questions about our ability to understand and assess suicide behavior in black youth. 

Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC)  Mental Health Month 2020 Toolkit

Mental Health America provides a very broad range of resources. Page 6 - 8 of the toolkit provides an extensive list of resources addressing specific BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations. 


The Trevor Project

Provides resources for LGBTQ students to assist them in coping with COVID-19.

Parent/Caregiver Resources


A strong partnership between parents/caregivers and their child’s school is essential. The resources presented in this section address how parents can support their child through information and advocacy surrounding issues of racial inequities and times of crisis.


Support Your Children and Teens


Supporting Vulnerable Students in Times of Stress: Tips for Parents 

Tips and resources for parents to help children understand their emotional reactions to the current climate of divisiveness, anger and fear and develop effective coping and conflict resolution strategies.


PBS Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism

Resources for parents on race for children, books that can help parents discuss racism with kids, teaching children about the history of racism, podcasts for children to listen to about race, television shows for kids that teach about culturally sensitivity.


UNICEF Talking to Kids about Racism

Age-guided resources about how to talk about race with children across all age levels (under 5 - Age 18), teaching children how to recognize racial bias/discrimination.


Parents Magazine Age-by-Age Guide Talking About Race

Provides guidance regarding how to talk about race in the early years (infancy up to age 8), and resources on how to raise culturally aware children, resources for kids on white privilege (benefits/advantages that a person has in being white).


Embrace Race 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking About Race

Resources for parents on talking to kids about race at all ages, teaching kids to be agents of change, and ways that parents can help their children become more culturally aware.


Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture; Talking about Race

This parent/caregiver-facing resource provides content and resources for all families as they navigate conversations about race.

How to Advocate for Your Child in School


Strategies for Advocating as a Parent of Black Children

(Mhonde, R.D., PsychCentral, 2020)

This article gives 5 steps that Black parents can take in advocating for their child.


Michigan Alliance for Families

Provides resources for families on special education services in the schools and how to support your child if they are experiencing academic or emotional difficulties.  The Michigan Alliance for Families also provides advocacy/assistance in communicating with schools and developing supports for students in the school and home setting.

Light blue square with white outline of two heads in profile back to back. Right head brain outlined, left head brain space is snarled.
PBS Kids Talk About Race and Racism photo montage with 4 photos of children and families of diverse racial backgrounds talking together.
Embrace Race Action Guide tips "designed to help parents of all backgrounds teach and talk to their children about race early and often." Includes artwork of 3 children of diverse races wearing superhero capes and posing triumphantly.