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Leadership Summit for Families of Color

Family Summit 1
Leadership Summit for Families of Color
Published: June 22, 2023

On June 3rd over forty families attended the inaugural Leadership Summit for Families of Color: Leading with Eyes Wide Open, hosted by the  Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC) in partnership with the Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions (LENS-NC) grant. It was held at the Conference Center at Guilford Technical Community College in Colfax, North Carolina.

Parenting a child with a disability has often been viewed as race-neutral, yet the statistics show that Black and Brown students have more negative outcomes than their White peers. The Summit was geared toward those wanting to make a change in the systems that impact their families around the intersection of race, educational, and healthcare equity.

This free event provided a day of honest conversation and education designed to support families of color. Translation services were also available which enabled all families the opportunity to participate in the interactive sessions throughout the day. The day-long Summit encouraged families to identify:

  • Ways to use their voices for change
  • Organizations committed to educational and healthcare equity
  • Personal leadership opportunities
  • Opportunities to connect with other families of color

Keynote speaker, Stephanie Walker, Consultant and Strategist, presented the opening keynote titled 20/20 “Vision” for Family Leaders: Leading with Eyes Wide Open - - a call to action for families to get engaged with leadership and advocacy at all levels.

Presenting organizations included Education Justice Alliance, NC Division of Child and Family Well-Being, NC Child, Change by Design and the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center. Lunch was provided and families received a stipend check for participation. Participants also agreed to attend a virtual focus group after the Summit to discuss what information they found valuable and how they plan to use the information. Their feedback will be used to inform and design future events.

At the conclusion of the Summit, families and staff shared:

  • “It was an excellent event. The best one I've been involved in. The speakers were all relative (relevant) and very informative and encouraging.” (family member) 
  • “This should only be the first of many of these types of trainings.  I feel empowered to sit amongst others that understand what it means to be a person of color navigating the world of disabilities that understand the double standards that my family faces every day.”  (family member) 
  • “The families shared similar life experiences navigating the education system, learning from each other and from the workshops that were delivered with full intention, by savvy and knowledgeable presenters.” (Millie Ramos, ECAC Lead Bi-lingual Parent Educator)

ECAC is committed to continuing to identify and provide leadership and advocacy opportunities for families of color. Be on the lookout for future events!