Moving Forward from Here: Building a Just and Equitable World

June 2, 2020

ASM Spring 2019 CoverBy NIOST DIrector and Senior Scientist Georgia Hall. As if quarantine, loss of parent jobs, food insecurity, and transition to homeschooling weren’t enough of a burden for our children, the ugly, persistent specter of racism raised itself again into widespread consciousness over the last week in multiple and heart-wrenching ways. And even birdwatching became a focal point, after a White woman falsely accused Christian Cooper, a Black man, of threatening her in Central Park while he was birdwatching, and his sister Melody Cooper posted the video to Twitter.

We went to school together--Christian, Melody, and me. Their mom was my eighth grade English teacher. Demanding--but highly inspiring. It was no surprise they both have turned out to be writers and are using their voices to speak up for justice.  We were in speech and debate club together; just last month I recollected those experiences in my foreword to the Spring 2020 issue of our Afterschool Matters journal.

It’s hard not to ask “How did we get here, again?” But it is more important to ask, “How do we move forward from here?” I know that part of the work lies in the hands of educators and out-of-school time and youth development professionals. As I listen to news reports and read editorials, essays, and social media posts from this past week, it’s abundantly clear that we in this field, along with parents and teachers, need to talk with children about racism.

We have answered this call before. Historically, our programs have been places where children can find safety, support, empathy, and empowerment. Out-of-school time and youth development workers have stretched in so many new ways to still be present to their communities of children and youth during the pandemic. We are going to need to do more of what we have done well for so many years, even if it needs to happen online--to listen, to be open-minded, to self-reflect, to help others reflect, to sustain, to name the history of hurt and oppression in our country. Our crisis context has shed a needed light on the critical role that this field plays in building a just and equitable world.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

niost logo white

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
Directions to NIOST

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to use our site, or clicking "Continue", you are agreeing to our privacy policy.
Continue Privacy Policy