Giving Compass' Take:

• Rey Saldana and Jennifer Blatz explain how COVID-19 has forced them to adjust their organizations' strategies in the fight for racial justice in schools.

• How does racial justice in schools impact equity in all areas of life? What are you doing to adjust for COVID-19 in your battle for racial justice in the U.S. education system?

• Read more about the impact of racial justice in schools on a more equitable criminal justice system.

Today we are talking about how national organizations are responding to COVID-19 and alarming incidents of racial injustice. Joining me are Rey Saldaña, president and CEO of Communities In Schools, and Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO at StriveTogether.

Christian Motley: First question, how have you and your organizations responded to these twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism?

Rey Saldaña: The fact that we now are working under circumstances where that access point, the safest place for schools, has been shut down, it really has put us into this place where we are trying to find ways to reconnect with students who are, in many cases, the most vulnerable in the communities that we are working in.

While that used to be a classroom in the school where we had developed relationships with students throughout the school year, that’s now a phone call. And in many cases with the families we work with, they didn’t have the opportunity to stock up the pantry or prepare the materials or the disinfectants or the hand sanitizer.

Jennifer Blatz: 

In our work, it is supporting a set of intermediaries. We're going down a path with a very ambitious strategic plan to work very deeply in some communities to transform systems. And when COVID hit, we realized that for more than a decade, we’ve worked to build this cradle-to-career civic infrastructure in communities across the country, and that we we're going to need to pivot our strategy to support and stabilize and preserve as much of that infrastructure in communities as possible.

I think we quickly realized that it changes the way we do work. We were going to have to make a shift to doing that work virtually. But the work has never been more important.

Read the full discussion about fighting for racial justice in schools with Rey Saldana and Jennifer Blatz at StriveTogether.