Racial Equity Advocates cohort program

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2021-22 REA cohort

MEA FIRE: REA cohort program

The Minnesota Educator Academy’s member-driven program for Facing Inequities and Racism in Education aims to disrupt systemic racism and racial inequities in Minnesota’s education system. 

The FIRE program leads our state’s educators in a movement to live equitably and practice recognizing and responding to inequities and injustices. The FIRE program includes the Racial Equity Advocate cohort program and a series of professional development modules for educators to grow an anti-racism mindset and opportunities to engage with Education Minnesota’s members to interrupt and dismantle institutional racism.

Hear what members are saying about the REA program

Are you someone who…

  • Is looking to build power centering equity within your local?
  • Is comfortable with difficult discussions?
  • Understands that education – and unionism – is built on systems of white supremacy?
  • Understands the importance of centering race?
  • Has the ability to hold space for an interracial group?
  • Understands the need for empathy, grace, heart work, and compassion?
  • Is a current Education Minnesota member?

If you said yes to the questions above, we encourage you to apply during our application window.

The REA cohort is an ongoing program that works to create a network of educators dedicated to helping members grow in their own racial equity journeys and to expand their anti-racism mindset. By joining the cohort, REAs will be empowered to work as members of the union to activate change at the building level and beyond. 

Program intentions may include: 

  • Functioning effectively as part of an interracial cohort of people who are courageous with each other, committed to reflecting on and improving their own practice and experiencing a variety of communication styles and processes that disrupt the institutional privilege of whiteness and advance equity.
  • Developing and delivering professional development for Education Minnesota members that is designed to grow racially equitable classrooms by facilitating growth of individual racial consciousness and intercultural competency.
  • Using a racial equity lens to advocate for the rights and protection of all educators (teachers, ESPs, paras, EAs, etc.) working to develop anti-racist mindsets and practices in their classrooms, with a special focus on supporting and advocating for educators of color, so that their rights and needs are respected and advanced.
  • Challenging systems of oppression that are personal, local and immediate. 
  • Examining unionism through a racial equity lens.
  • Continuing to participate in a network of racial equity advocates committed to dismantling racism.
  • Working with other members of your local union to examine internal practices with a racial equity lens with the goal of building anti-racist values into local union practices.
  • Strengthening collaboration with outside organizations.


Throughout the 2022-23 year, REAs will invest time for individual and group growth to grow our own sense of community – a brave and safe space for members to speak their truths, support and learn from one another, and self-reflect. Additionally, REAs will have the opportunity to participate in optional trainings, topics that would be named after our initial gathering. Our meetings will be in-person at the St. Paul headquarter office unless otherwise noted.

REAs will have the opportunity to stay engaged with equity work after our celebration in May. Connecting with the REA family regarding professional development, organizing, negotiations – the sky is the limit with how much you can be involved with as an REA.

CEU hours will be available for members who are able to attend our cohort meetings.

All travel and expenses will be covered by Education Minnesota (including substitute costs, if applicable).

Times could vary slightly; meals will be provided at any in-person meeting.

Cohort kick-off9 a.m.3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1241 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul (headquarters)
January meeting6-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13
9 a.m.-12 p.m.. Saturday, Jan. 14
41 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul (headquarters)
March meeting6-9 p.m. Friday, March 10
9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, March 11
41 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul (headquarters)
May celebration9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 6TBA
Office hoursSummer 2023Virtual or in-person
Online journalingOnce per monthMEA Online
Various trainings*TBATBA

* The opportunity to attend conferences at the state or national level will likely be an option; depending on the level of interest, this might be limited to one opportunity per member.

If you have additional questions, please email FIRE coordinator Jonathan Kim at jonathan.kim@edmn.org.