*Alexander Hamilton Elementary School, Baltimore 2001.

We are entering our eighth year at Kindred. In Pythagorean numerology, the number 8 speaks to victory, prosperity and overcoming challenges, all of which are representative of my journey as Executive Director. To date, we have partnered with over 30 schools in our local community serving nearly 7,000 students. This year, we launched our work nationally to serve school communities in New York City, California and Washington State. We honor the caregivers, school staff, and district and school leaders who have entrusted our team to facilitate brave conversations about the state of equity within their communities. We are grateful that, in addition to the technical fixes school communities have embarked upon to address equity, they have chosen to do the deep, and challenging adaptive work to shift towards more equitable practices with a goal of engaging in community-led change. 

We are stronger as a team because of our partnerships with school communities across the country and we hope that our work together has been as transformational for their communities as it has been for us.  We are fortunate to have captured these learnings in the Liberatory Collaboration Framework (LCF). The LCF serves multiple goals in our vision of communities collaborating to create antiracist and liberated schools: 1) it serves as a guide to school communities as they work towards building more equitable practices and policies; 2)   a formative assessment; and 3) a tool to aid the community in determining the capabilities that are strengths and the ones that need developed  in order to maximize their equity action planning and implementation. 

At Kindred, we wholly believe that experience is one of life’s best teachers. In that vein,  our school level work has only revealed and reinforced the idea that there are systemic issues and power dynamics at the city level that prevent school communities from becoming truly antiracist, liberated communities that prioritize the needs of all students; especially for Black and Brown students. Last year we piloted an advocacy program that supported caregivers to become advocates for equitable policies at the city-wide level. If you didn’t see Dana Mitchell, who leads this work and is also a Ward 7 resident, testify during the FY24 Budget Hearings, you can watch her in action now

This year, Kindred will officially launch our advocacy program with 20 caregivers across our partner schools.  Through a cohort-based approach we aim for caregivers to gain an understanding about how the system works and offer them the tools to influence city leaders and officials.  If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please reach out to us at info@kindredcommunities.org

I have to say that even with all of Kindred’s  successes, I get weary. As I listen to the newsreels from across the country and bear witness to the disparate experiences of students based on their race and other identity markers, I often feel that Kindred is making just a small dent in a problem that widens daily. This summer was especially difficult for me, but I received a gift from an old friend that made all of the difference in the world. I was sent the picture (above) of me in my first year of teaching. When I saw that picture, I remembered why I became a teacher and who my work was in service of.  Today, I can say that I have  regained my sense of hope and idealism, two essential qualities that help me dream of a different future and strengthen my resolve to continue the fight for equity in all of our systems. I also know that I am not alone in the fight or my impatient desire for a new reality.  With renewed energy, Kindred will continue to coalition-build with all who know that “…a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 



Zakiya Sackor