Nathaniel Rouse was hired as District 220’s Director of Equity, Race and Cultural Diversity, and has made his focus on learning more about this community.  He feels there is much to do.   He is planning to have an equitable outcome; he has visited all the schools so far and is moving to form a K-12 Equity Committee for systemic change.  Nathaniel is looking forward to having meetings with all stakeholders (e.g., students, parents, faculty, community) and change agents.  His efforts are parallel to all of the other issues/ actions that are underway in District 220.
 
When asked about the Latino community, what are his thoughts:
They are feeling marginalized and ostracized. They don’t feel comfortable receiving or asking for help. They are in a different state of being. He is asking questions of why they feel this way.  Mentoring by Latino high school students in the Elementary grades is a way Nathaniel will begin to introduce change. 
 
Open denial of systemic racism is an issue that is out there as a reality:
Nathaniel responded that data has shown there ARE systemic inequities (e.g., advanced placement opportunities, grades, extra curricular club or sports participation.)  When you look at the 12 Steps in AA, the first step is admitting there is a problem. Once we do acknowledge, we will move forward. This takes time.  The work is in having these conversations.   Some people have experienced inequities that go back years and years.  We are talking about ADAPTIVE solutions, not TECHNICAL solutions, and adaptation takes time.
 
What is the  plan to teach awareness at an early age to understand the differences that are here and are here to stay:
Students come with biases learned from home so taking it to the home is just as important.  There is a difference between equity and equality.  Young people are far more malleable.  Adults struggle with any change to engrained biases and learnings.  There is also the need to prepare young people leaving District 220 for the “real world” that does not resemble their north suburban experiences.
 
A discussion took place about the Barrington home that had graffiti sprayed on their home.  How is this type of intolerance going to be changed:
Leading our community through systemic change is the way to change these situations. This work of change will not happen over night, but will take 4-5 years.
 
Craig Winkelman stated the District has been working on inequity for years.  The difference now is that Nathaniel can create the focal point for change and help steer us away from cultural racism.  The District is going to engage the teachers, students and community.  People need more education. Racism is out there and change must happen.  In response to a question from Suzanne Gibson regarding how BBRC could help, Craig indicated if members of the BBRC are interested in being part of the new committee or planned events, please reach out to Nathaniel! nrouse@barrington220.org
 
Craig offered the District demographics are, approximately:
African American 9%
Hispanic  25% and growing
Asian 12-15%
It is NOT just a Carpentersville vs. Barrington situation.
 
Jeanne Hanson offered for “Be the Change Barrington", you can ask to sign up for the newsletter at https://linktr.ee/btcb/ and place yourself of a mailing list for the Courageous Conversation series at
http://www.urbanconsulate.com/courageousconversations/events/2020/12/courageous