To really understand what it means to have a teacher who looks like you in front of the classroom, bring your questions to Town Hall's second annual #EducationSoWhite event at Seattle University's Pigott Auditorium next Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m.

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Virtually every industry, from law enforcement to journalism, has struggled to diversify its workforce in order to reflect the demographics of the people it serves.

Education is no exception. Students of color makeup about half of students enrolled in public schools, yet about eight out of every 10 public schoolteachers are white. In Washington, that number is closer to nine out of every 10 teachers.

The impact of these cultural gaps in the classroom, according to researchers, are quite significant. But to really understand what it means to have a teacher who looks like you in front of the classroom, bring your questions to Town Hall’s second annual #EducationSoWhite event at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium next Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m.

This year’s event, which is co-presented by Education Lab, is an encore to last year’s discussion, where a panel of education equity advocates and teachers of color discussed teacher diversity and turnover, inclusion for students from marginalized groups and the school-to-prison pipeline. Come early (when doors open at 6:30), and you’ll have an hour to explore an activity fair that includes a photo booth and opportunities to learn about local organizations dedicated to youth and equity.

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Tickets are $5. 

Here’s who you can expect to hear from during the event and panel discussion, which will be moderated by Anika Anand — co-founder of the The Evergrey and Education Lab’s former engagement editor.

  • Daudi Abe, opening speaker: Daudi is a Seattle-based professor who has taught and written about race, education, and hip-hop for over 20 years. He has appeared on national media such as MSNBC and The Tavis Smiley Show. He has taught students at every grade level from kindergarten through college.
  • Kristin Leong, panelist: Kristin is the creator of the #EducationSoWhite event, a 2018 Citizen University Fellow and one of 30 international TED-Ed Innovative Educators of 2017. She is the founder of RollCallProject.com, which is an international project humanizing the gaps in race, gender, and sexual orientation separating students and teachers. Kristin is a former middle school teacher and three-term Washington State Teacher Leader.
  • Chardonnay Beaver, panelist: Beaver is an 11th-grader in Seattle. She has helped establish two youth organizations committed to fighting racism: New Generation, which aims to educate people about issues such as police brutality and implicit bias; and the NAACP Youth Coalition, which unites anti-racist groups across Seattle high schools into one powerful coalition.
  • Shukri Olow, panelist: Shukri was previously a project coordinator with Seattle Public Schools, where she focused on reducing chronic absenteeism and discipline for African and African American students. She serves on the Somali Health Board and works with Kent Youth and Family Services.
  • Colin Pierce, panelist: Colin is a teacher at Rainier Beach High School where he is also the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Coordinator. Colin is an education reform activist at the local and state policy level, and he travels the country helping educators in other high-poverty communities incorporate IB programs into their schools.