Racial Equity

Welcome to the Network’s Racial Equity page. Here you will be able to access articles, helpful websites, and other resources that can be utilized inside and outside of afterschool programs.

Letters from our CEO, Kelly McMahon

We Stand With You

“Dear partners and friends,

As youth workers, children look up to us to teach them right from wrong.

The death—the murder—of George Floyd is wrong. Our country’s unrelenting, inequitable treatment of people of color is wrong. The systemic racism imbedded in our society is simply wrong.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Right now, everywhere the youth of New York look, they see injustice.

Many of these children already sense that the deck is stacked against them. Make sure that when in your care, every child knows that they are safe and that their voice will be heard.

As you plan your upcoming programming, I encourage you to embrace a holistic approach that includes trauma-informed practices as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. On our DEI resource page, we also include a list of books that help facilitate conversations about race and justice with children of all ages. Share this list with parents and caregivers to encourage the continuation of these discussions at home. Discuss these resources among your staff and colleagues to better understand individual experiences, educate about the history of racial injustice in our country, and act together in solidarity.

These are not easy conversations. But they are critical. The Network always stands with you, our essential youth workers, and we are here to support your work as we once again navigate our collective grief.

In solidarity,

Kelly McMahon and the New York State Network for Youth Success Team”

The Network Responds to Attacks on the AAPI Community

A Message from Kelly Sturgis and the New York State Network for Youth Success Team:

“Over the past year, our lives and communities have been turned upside down by two viruses: COVID-19 and hate.

The Network for Youth Success shares in your anguish and outrage over the violent and deadly attacks against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community across the country, including right here in New York. These senseless assaults are a devastating reminder that the same racism and scapegoating that spurred the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment camps, and general anti-Asian hate continues to be a stain on our country to this day.

Pandemic fears have fueled the sharp increase in brazen and abhorrent attacks against the AAPI community. People are being targeted, assaulted, and murdered in broad daylight.

We all know that hate is learned. Afterschool staff are uniquely positioned to challenge a child’s learned racism or hate before it becomes ingrained, and to protect kids who are being traumatized by race-fueled harassment, bullying, and isolation.

When it comes to the children in our care, we can intervene. We MUST intervene.

According to the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Incident Report, “Adults were present in almost half of the [discrimination] incidents (48%), but in only 10% of the cases did bystanders intervene.”

In a recent segment on Saturday Night Live, cast member Bowen Yang challenged his fellow New Yorkers and the entire nation to “do more.” The Network pledges to do more, and so can you.

  • Shut down any anti-Chinese or anti-AAPI language, such as referring to “COVID-19” as the “China virus.”
  • Step in and intervene the moment you see a child being physically or verbally harassed for their race or ethnicity.
  • Lookout for—and put an immediate stop to—any shunning or isolation of AAPI youth by their peers.

Hollaback! offers a free bystander intervention training. Stop AAPI Hate provides a number of resources on its website, including the youth incident report.

The Network for Youth Success will update our racial equity page as more resources and trainings become available. Please send us any resources your team has found helpful so that we may share them with our members.  

It has been a devastating year. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.”

Supporting youth impacted by the conflict in Israel and Gaza

We are bearing witness to a generational trauma as the war between Israel and Hamas continues to unfold. For many Jewish and Palestinian students, staff, and families in New York afterschool programs, the conflict doesn’t feel thousands of miles away. It feels like it’s at their front door.

The Network’s focus remains—as it always has—on championing safe and supportive afterschool spaces for all of New York’s youth.

As tensions mount both at home and abroad, antisemitism and anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim sentiments are ripping through our communities. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities and complex emotions. Ensure that discussions about the Israel-Hamas war are age-appropriate.

To assist you in these efforts, we have compiled a list of relevant resources. Additionally, we are exploring JEDI training sessions to help afterschool leaders navigate this space. If you have resources or a perspective that would be valuable to share with the larger afterschool community, please contact me.

Our hearts break for the innocent children who have been killed and for the youth whose sense of safety and security has been shattered. While tragedy often leaves us with more questions than answers, the Network will do whatever we can to help afterschool programs continue to be places of safety and stability.

In solidarity,

Kelly McMahon

New York Department of Education
New York Family
Child Mind Institute

New York State Equity Report

NAA is now elevating the importance of building a diverse leadership pipeline through the launch of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) in spring 2020, with grant support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and in partnership with the California SchoolAge Consortium (CalSAC) and Development Without Limits (DWL). NAA also engaged Policy Studies Associates (PSA) and Public Profit as learning and research partners.

In January NAA released a report on equity across New York state. This report was researched and authored by PSA and leverages interview and survey data from Public Profit, results from a collaborative effort intended to frame efforts to embrace, support, and retain afterschool leaders of color.

Check out the full report by clicking on the link here.

Companies Have Promised $35 Billion Toward Racial Equity. Where Is the Money Going?

See how companies who pledged funds to bolster their racial equity practices are using said funds in this Wall Street Journal article. Click here.

(Audio) Can We Talk? Talking to White Kids About Race & Racism

Safe Space Radio Provides you with an hour long podcast featuring voices of many experts and parents who share their experiences for how to talk to kids about racism. Click here.

(Book) Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America

In this book Dr. Jennifer Harvey speaks on “Raising White Kids offers age-appropriate insights for teaching children how to address racism when they encounter it…” Click here.

Stop AAPI Hate

This Youth Report also includes a number of helpful resources. Read more here.

Browse the accordion below for additional resources.


  • Companies Have Promised $35 Billion Towards Racial Equity. Where is the Money Going? Click here.
  • George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our Children?
    • This article published in USA Today on May 31, 2020 was written by Alia E. Dastagir. Click here.
  • Equity and Inclusion: An Action Agenda for Youth Development Professionals
    • This article by Jennifer Siaca Curry appears in Afterschool Matters. Click here.
  • How to talk to kids about race, privilege amid George Floyd protests
    • Good Morning America’s story from June 1, 2020, written by Katie Kindelan & Sarah Lang. Click here.
  • Equity and Inclusion: An Action Agenda for Youth Development Professionals
    • This aarticle by Jennifer Siaca Curry appears in Afterschool Matters. Click here.

Other Resources

  • How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
    • Parent Toolkit provides answers here.
  • Talking to Kids about Discrimination
    • Learn more from the American Psychological Association here.
  • Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice: A List for Parents, Caregivers & Educators
    • Find a variety of resources on how to discuss racism and justice with kids of all ages. Find books for children from toddlers to 7th and up. This site also features impactful articles, videos, and websites to ensure that you have as much information as possible on this important and difficult topic.  Click here to learn more!
  • Changemakers! Practitioners Advance Equity and Access in Out-of-School Time Programs
    • This book, edited by Sara Hill and Femi Vance, is part of a series Current Issues in Out-of-School Time.
  • To Elevate Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Go Deeper Into Your Quality Standards
    • This Afterschool Snack blog from the Afterschool Alliance is focused on afterschool programs.
  • Anti-Racisim Resources
    • This list was put together by Indvisible.
  • Anguish and Action
    • list of resources shared by the Obama Foundation.