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Thursday, September 15, 2016

SchoolHouse: Equity in Education



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This week: CJSF’s Allison R. Brown chats with Rev. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation in St. Louis, a pastor at St. John’s Church, and former co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, about faith and philanthropy in his radical giving.

About the SchoolHouse: Equity in Education podcast:

SchoolHouse is a podcast created by the Communities for Just Schools Fund and hosted by Allison R. Brown. SchoolHouse shares stories about how young people, their families and communities, and other advocates and activists are working in and around schools to make them healthy, safe, and equitable places for children to be. In SchoolHouse, we will learn together about the global implications of local movements for change in our schools.

About CJSF:

The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF) is a nationally-focused donor collaborative. CJSF provides resources in support of community-led organizations that are working to ensure positive and supportive school climates that affirm and foster the success of all students. CJSF’s community partners organize young people, parents and caregivers, educators, and other community members to advocate on behalf of students who are disproportionately impacted by the over-use of exclusionary school discipline practices, including suspensions, expulsions, and arrests in schools. They organize community members to stand up for positive, healthy, and supportive school climates that produce better academic and social outcomes for the students who enroll than school climates with a heavy police presence, zero tolerance school discipline policies, and over-reliance on exclusionary discipline methods. CJSF’s community partners educate students, parents and caregivers, school officials and teachers, police departments, and community leaders on highly beneficial alternatives to suspension, expulsion, and school-based arrests. For more information, email us at info@cjsfund.org and sign up for our newsletter at www.cjsfund.org.

About Reverend Starsky D. Wilson:

Pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God’s vision of community marked by justice, peace and love. He is president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, pastor of Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) and former co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.

Deaconess is a faith-based grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. From a corpus of approximately $50 million, the foundation has invested more than $76 million to advance its mission in the area. Starsky’s leadership has birthed a dynamic community capacity building model, aligning policy advocacy, organizing and community engagement with grantmaking.

Through Saint John’s, Wilson has led congregational activism on myriad issues, including youth violence prevention, Medicaid expansion, public school accreditation, voter mobilization, capping payday lending and raising the minimum wage, while more than quadrupling worship attendance and annual giving. There he established The Beloved Community Conference to resource local social justice ministries and Sojourner’s Truth: A Celebration of Preaching Women.

In 2014, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Rev. Wilson co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, a group of sixteen citizens empowered to study the underlying conditions and make public policy recommendations to help the region progress through issues exposed by the tragic death of Michael Brown, Jr.  On September 14, 2015 they released the ground-breaking “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity” Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility. For more information: http://sjuccstl.org/ or http://deaconess.org/

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