MEA F.I.R.E.

F.I.R.E. is the Minnesota Educator Academy's Anti-Racism Program, and the acronym stands for Facing Inequities and Racism in Education.

Program Goal: Establish a comprehensive, systemic, and sustainable framework to support all educators in developing a mindset of racial equity, in an effort to empower educator voice in advocating for racial justice.

Education Minnesota members are working to develop anti-racism resources and personal growth experiences for social justice educators. Join our Racial Equity Community of Practice and MEA FIRE groups on ConnectED at mynea360.org to learn more about these inspiring and important opportunities.

NEW: Racial Equity Advocates training

Recruitment details coming soon!

Local/regional Racial Equity Advocates (REAs) will be trained to serve members as an ally and resource in developing an anti-racism growth mindset. REAs may be called upon to:

  • Deliver professional development and facilitate community learning experiences related to racial equity.
  • Participate in conflict resolution and restorative justice efforts within school and district communities; these efforts may include colleagues, administrators, local leaders, parents, and students.
  • Serve as a supportive peer for colleagues who are working to develop an anti-racism growth mindset.

About the training 
REAs will individually receive training in order to understand and identify:

  • one’s own culture
  • privilege and unconscious bias
  • intercultural competence
  • institutional racism in education
  • restorative practices
  • critical race theory
  • application and action for change
  • discomfort and non-closure
  • ways to interrupt racism and microaggressions

Participants will build skills to:

  • Examine equity with others (admin, staff, students, community partners)
  • Create an environment that is safe yet challenging – a “brave space”
  • Select and utilize resources available for training
  • Engage in reflective practice and conscious self-care

Education Minnesota support

  • Extensive, ongoing training via MEA
  • Member rights security
  • Cohort network to provide support in activism and advocacy for educational equity
  • Local, state and national collaborative opportunities to affect meaningful change

Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) support 

  • Resources and materials to support change with colleagues and community members
  • Ongoing professional development in racial equity and anti-racism in education
  • Leadership and instructional support for working with adult learners
  • Policy support regarding professional development advocacy

Timeline

  • Fall/winter 2016-17: Develop training for and recruit first cohort of 20-25 training participants
  • Winter/spring 2016-17: Convene and train first cohort of REAs


Community storytelling


The community storytelling experience provides an interactive, sustainable framework for developing a growth mindset in racial equity, for all members of a school community. Uniquely structured, this experience is a scalable program designed to meet a variety of learners styles and address equity concerns as they relate to specific community needs.

Communities of learners can commit to a full year of storytelling, select from a variety of storytelling approaches, and/or create a tailored plan for engaging stakeholders in conversations about race and equity in education. At each session, facilitators will coach participants through a series of engagement activities in order to support individual and group development.

Core values and components

  • Reflective practice
  • Active listening
  • Intersecting identities and differentiated needs
  • Connections to self and others
  • Application of experience to classroom community
  • Honoring the humanity and dignity of all
  • De-colonizing the mind
  • Shared language and expectations for communication
  • Acceptance of discomfort and non-closure

Possible participants

  • Classroom teachers
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Specialists: Instructional and Health
  • Administrators
  • Students
  • Parents
  • Members of faith-based organizations
  • Community leaders
  • Local union leaders
  • Local law enforcement
  • Health and human services providers


Questions about MEA Fire, becoming a Racial Equity Advocate and/or facilitating a community storytelling experience? Contact Education Issues Specialist Jen Kohan at jen.kohan@edmn.org or 651-227-9541 or join our Racial Equity Community of Practice and MEA FIRE groups on ConnectED at mynea360.org!