top of page
Revised November 28, 2022 - Kimberly Nguyen (1).png

About Us

The Racism-Free Schools Coalition is a diverse group of more than 30 education and community organizations working to make schools safer and more welcoming for students and teachers of color:

  • Teach Plus Illinois

  • Illinois State Teachers of the Year

  • NAACP Illinois State Conference

  • Latino Policy Forum

  • League of United Latin American Citizens

  • Latinx Digital Leaders Now

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago

  • League of Women Voters of Illinois

  • Illinois NOW - National Organization of Women

  • She Votes Illinois

  • National Council of Jewish Women - Chicago North Shore

  • Beauty and Brains

  • Faith Coalition for the Common Good

  • Black Educational Advocacy Coalition

  • Black Male Educator Association Illinois

  • Illinois Coalition of Educational Equity Leaders

  • Stand for Children Illinois

  • Evanston Teachers' Council

  • Kids First Chicago

  • Illinois Families for Public Schools

  • Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education

  • Educators for Excellence Chicago

  • Illinois Network of Charter Schools

  • Illinois Music Educator Association

  • Illinois School Counselor Association

  • Illinois Association of School Social Workers

  • Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Design

  • Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children

  • Illinois Association of Multilingual Multicultural Education

  • Loyola University Institute for Racial Justice

  • Governors State University

  • Northern Illinois University

  • ACT NOW Coalition - Afterschool for Children and Teens

  • RAIN - Racial Awareness In the Northside

  • The Center for Success in High Need Schools

  • Illinois Partnership for Inclusion and Equity

Racism-Free Schools began with a group of Teaching Policy Fellows with Teach Plus Illinois, a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to empowering teachers to advocate for equitable opportunities for students. 

​During the 2020-21 school year, a group of Illinois State and Regional Teachers of the Year came together in a policy fellowship around recruiting and retaining teachers of color. As they researched the issue, they asked whether we, as a state, were recruiting from and retaining in schools that were safe and welcoming for students and teachers of color. And if the answer was no - what might we do about it?

Their research indicated that harassment and discrimination based on race were prevalent in a majority of schools, and also that these incidents were drastically under-reported. They examined school policies and found that almost none contained language detailing what kind of racist actions were unacceptable or offering protections for victims. Drawing on existing Illinois policies on bullying and federal policies on sexual harassment, they outlined a proposal for a bill to prevent and address racial harassment.

That proposal has since developed into the proposed Racism-Free Schools Act, which has been introduced in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, a diverse coalition of organizations in support, and growing attention in the media. We've incorporated feedback from advocacy groups, expert practicioners, state agencies, and educator organizations to ensure it is informed by the experiences and expertise of those impacted.

Our mission is to reduce racism in schools by requiring schools to adopt and regularly communicate policies specific to racial harassment and discrimination, train employees to recognize and report incidents, and inform students and families of their rights and reporting options to respond more effectively to racism in schools. 

Our vision is to develop systems that effectively prevent and respond to racist incidents in schools. We look to empower victims, create trust in school communities, and restore relationships in our school buildings through education and clear communication.

bottom of page