NORTHAMPTON, MA – The Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) has begun the process of heightening awareness of what social justice and equity means to CES employees, to the work of our organization, and how this ties to our mission and core values. Thirty participants, including members of the CES leadership team and the Social Justice and Equity Committee, met for two days in early April to take part in an intensive retreat with Dr. Barbara Love and Dr. Russell Vernon-Jones, who are assisting CES with this initiative.
Sherry Smith, (Director of CES Special Education), Darnell Thigpen-Williams (Associate Director of DYS Professional Development), and Safire DeJong (Instructional Designer) are the co-chairs of the Social Justice and Equity Committee, and will lead further work on the project. According to Williams, “The SJE 2-day retreat was powerful because it represented a united front, personally and professionally, in standing up for issues of social justice and equity. While this effort is just beginning to launch at CES, we have an army of committed and compassionate drum majors who will not settle for anything less than this.”
Smith commented, “Being part of this initiative makes me hopeful and excited about our future as an agency. I am also proud to be part of an organization that has made such a commitment to helping us broaden our awareness of social justice issues, and how our internal work can then support the students and families we serve. The two day retreat was an excellent beginning for us in this process, and I look forward to planning out our next steps.”
We will post additional news about the CES Social Justice and Equity initiative as it progresses.