Racial Equity Committee

AUGUST 11, 2020: PANDEMIC PODS AND MORE, a MESSAGE FROM OUR Hazel Wolf PTSA REC CO-CHAIR, ARDEL JALA

June 7, 2020: Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Statement on Racial Inequities and Injustice


Communities of Practice

We created Communities of Practice (CP) for white people because we currently live in a historically entrenched white-dominant culture, and because we white REC members want to take the burden for educating and learning about anti-racist work off the shoulders of BIPOC (though we are absolutely accountable to and in community with BIPOC).  A reminder: The Hazel Wolf PTSA REC is a small committee made up of volunteers, mostly BIPOC, most working full-time, plus raising children. We meet and communicate often, and do a significant amount of behind the scenes work. We do our best to contribute to the community, and we cannot do all that we would like, all that is needed, or all that would be ideal. The majority of REC is BIPOC, and they are under some measure of pressure and stress these days. I am hopeful that these CPs will potentially alleviate some of that stress, and will contribute as a small step in anti-racist work.

Maureen McCauley, Communications, REC

The focus of the Communities of Practice (CP) is anti-racism work. The goal of a CP is to create a community of people who want to focus on a subject, to learn from each other, and to be accountable to the others in the group. It is meant to be safe, challenging, and engaged.

Each meeting will have a facilitator, who will send out the general topic, and any (brief!) readings. The facilitator will loosely guide the discussion, encouraging everyone to speak and to listen. The facilitator will keep an eye on the time, and draw the meeting to a close in a positive way, noting any major themes and letting participants know about the take-home ideas or actions, as well as the time and focus of the next meeting time.

Possible focus subjects include:
– What does it mean to be white?
– How can white parents best talk with their kids about racism and racist events?
– What actions can white people take, beyond reading books, especially if we don’t know any BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)?
– How do we talk with white family or friends who have racist views, who “don’t see color,” who say “all lives matter”?

  • Hazel Wolf Community of Practice for White Men/Those who identify as white men meets virtually at 8 p.m. every other Tuesday, starting Sept. 15, 2020.
  • The Racial Equity Committee (REC) Community of Practice for White Women meets virtually from 4-5:30 p.m. every other Sunday, starting Sept. 13, 2020.

In these unprecedented times, we expect that folks will miss some sessions, but hope that folks will participate with consistency. We are not looking for perfection. We are looking for engagement, discussion, deep listening, and accountability.

If you are interested in attending or have questions, email ptsa_rec@hazelwolfk8.org. We will send you the Zoom link and any other info needed.


Mission Statement:

The mission of the Hazel Wolf Parent Racial Equity Committee (REC) is to enhance and empower students, families, and community members both individually and collectively to address and advance racial equity by closing opportunity gaps for students of color and providing equitable and inclusive working and learning environments for all students.

The REC is comprised primarily of parents of color, and began working together during the 2018-19 school-year. During 2018-19, we

  • took a survey during Multicultural Night of HW families about racial equity issues at school;
  • held a book fundraiser that brought 25 books about children of color and others and which were also written by authors of color;
  • supported Black Lives Matter events at school;
  • had a BLM contest which resulted in a prize winning design by a HW student;
  • began the REC Book Club-Discussion group (our first book last May was Ijeoma Olua’s So You Want to Talk About Race); and
  • held a powerful Roundtable on Racism, where students of color (and some REC members) talked about their real life experiences.

In the 2019-2020 school year, we

  • held a Conversation/Workshop: “White Women: How Can We Do Better at Talking About Race and Racism?” to talk about our own work to be better anti-racists, and about how we have talked with and learned from our kids about racism, white privilege, and speaking up. We recognize we do not have lived experience with racism the way that black, brown, and indigenous people do, and we are constantly making mistakes and learning on our way to becoming better allies and accomplices.

In the 2020-21 school year we will build on those successes. The PTSA has been generous in its support of the work of the REC. We plan to create student affinity groups, continue the REC Discussion Group, host some speakers and trainings, continue to support Black Lives Matter at School, and more.

REC Meeting Schedule

The REC generally meets 6-7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month, September through June. Some of our meetings will be open to all Hazel Wolf community members. We will post information about these meetings in advance.

Committee Members

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Committee Co-Chair
Nimi Joshi

My family and I moved to Seattle 3 years ago from India. I was so happy when two years ago, my daughter Aadya Deshpande (now 6th grade) could join Hazel Wolf. Quickly, a warm and welcoming Hazel Wolf community became of our own! I really admire our school’s awareness about diversity through its ongoing efforts to embrace & respect diverse cultures, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. This year, as I found myself getting better at acclimatizing with the surrounding, I decided to join PTSA so that I can volunteer some of my time outside my full time teaching profession. REC was my immediate choice since I think as an immigrant and multilingual (Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Japanese), I can share my voice and provide diverse perspective. I am excited to be working with PTSA this year!

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Committee Co-Chair
Zoe Leverson

I am white woman who is mom to 2 white boys, in 7th and 5th grade, at Hazel Wolf. It is important to my family and I that we talk about, promote, and understand how race effects our lives and our school. I am also an educator who focuses on the inclusion of people of color, gender, ability, and anyone who feels “othered.”

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Committee Member
Ardel Jala
People generally have an initial impression of me based on where we met. At school, I’m mom to two boys in 5th and 7th grade. At work, I’m an engineer. To my family, I’m a mother, daughter and sister. But what people always see first is my skin color (brown) because I’m first generation Filipino-American. I joined this committee because I want to explore how race affects the educational experience of my kids and their peers.

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Committee Member
Marina Gray

I am an African American woman and part of an inter-racial family. I am the mother of 4 African American boys (ages 28-10) of varying hues who have experienced different levels of systemic racism within our educational system over the years. My son Aiden Gray will be a 6th grader at Hazel Wolf. I think I bring to REC my experiences as a mother of boys in our school system, as a woman of color in our society, as a person who has grown up in a multi-racial family in two countries being a bridge between our families’ cultures and racial experiences. My desire is to work with the Hazel Wolf community to make our educational and community experiences safe and welcoming spaces for all of our students and families.

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Committee Member
Yolanda Jackson-Edwards

I am Scottish, Irish, English, Norwegian, African American, Native American, Creole, and Japanese, and I not only have 3 children that attend Hazel Wolf but have worked here for the past 7 years. As an African American in the education field, I see firsthand the discrepancies in how students, situations, and discipline is handled, and want to be part of the force that ensures that all students, including my own, are being provided equitable resources for success.

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Committee Member
Maureen McCauly

I am white, and part of an interracial family. I am the grandmother of Zariyah Quiroz, who is a 7th grader this year at Hazel Wolf. I think I bring to the REC my experience in nonprofit work, my ongoing learning as a white person hoping to be a good ally, and my long-standing interest in public education.

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Committee Member
Kelly McIntyre

I am a white mother to a 7th and a 4th grader. I joined the REC because I am passionate about doing the learning and the work required to understand and leverage my privilege and be a successful ally. In my time as a parent at Hazel Wolf I have heard so many kind words of support and good intentions expressed. I am excited to harness those intentions and transform them into action that will be seen and felt in a real way by our school community, especially by our students of color. I am so happy to be a part of this group of smart, passionate and thoughtful parents and look forward to working to advance the cause of racial equity.

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Committee Member
Gloria Okada

I was born and raised in Seattle by my Filipino immigrant parents. I have a 2nd grader, Adeline, at Hazel Wolf and a 4 year old, Lila. When Adeline and Lila were younger, I participated with Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) and began to hear about the experience of other kids of color in Seattle Public Schools. I joined the Parent Racial Equity Committee at Hazel Wolf because I saw it as a chance to make a difference in the educational experience of my children and other children of color. I am excited to advocate for all children’s voices to be heard at Hazel Wolf, not just the dominant culture.

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Committee Member
Alexander Perez Paz

I’m a Latino (Salvadoran) who is part of interracial family. I’m the father of two girls and a person who is dedicated to fight against any racial bias in this society or any societies.

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Committee Member
Sajida Rehman

I am mom of Shaheer Afridi who is a 7th grader at Hazel Wolf. We just joined the HW community in the current school year. My son graduated 5th grade from Olympic View Elementary. I have been fortunate to be part of OV FEAT and Race and Equity Team. I co-chaired FEAT for 3 years and helped organize multicultural potluck and Diversity Fest. One of my contributions was to connect with local businesses in the neighboring community and engage them via participation in our OV ice cream social and multicultural potluck. My professional background is related to Educational Research and evaluation. I am currently working towards PhD in curriculum and Instruction at University of Washington. I am honored to be invited to this group and look forward to work along you all.

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Committee Member
Lev Elson-Schwab

I am a white man and father to two mixed race children at Hazel Wolf: my daughter Tandia and my son Dalton.  I feel privileged to be involved in this critically important work and hope to support increasing diversity, equity and inclusion at HWK8. My family and I feel that it’s very important to leverage our privilege to advocate for underrepresented people.