This below is a living document, and we plan to make updates as we continue to have conversations with our staff, board, and community and develop additional action items.


September 21, 2020

Organizational Update 

Across the board and the staff of WriteBoston, we have committed to anchoring our collective work in racial justice and building more intentional frameworks that center anti-racism and equity in all we do. To this end, we have initiated a search process to identify an external consultant to guide us through the actions we can take as an organization to be more assertive in breaking systems of oppression.

Progress to date includes the following: 

  • At our June board meeting, the board individually reflected in writing on how racial justice should be showing up in WriteBoston’s work and activities. Staff responded in writing to surface areas where the board and staff should focus to make our commitments explicit. 
  • We developed and circulated a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to develop and implement a process for building shared understandings and concrete actions steps around centering racial justice in our work. Staff and board met with 12 facilitators to discuss the RFP; 8 consultants submitted proposals.
  • A subcommittee of staff and board was created to review and score proposals; review and selection is taking place through early October.
  • By the end of October, a consultant will be hired. In addition to building shared foundational language necessary for honest and successful dialogue on topics of race and equity, planned work with the facilitator includes forming an equity committee to dig into organizational practices, and an examination of our mission/vision in the context of our equity commitments.

Programming Updates

  • As discussed in the June statement, Teens in Print included analysis of institutionalized racism’s impact on the city of Boston in our advocacy letter unit during the Summer Journalism Institute. We also supported students who decided to write about these issues in op-eds and personal essays.
  • We also prioritized academic, cultural, and technological accessibility of our programming by offering additional mentoring support and computers to students who needed them.
  • In our new student writing hub, Writing through the Distance, we have intentionally amplified the voices of students of color and attendees of traditional Boston public schools as we choose the articles that are featured on the front page and in social media advertisements.
  • TiP is in the final stages of building its marketing and recruitment plan for the fall. As we approach schools, community partners, and online resources to begin direct recruitment in the next three weeks, we are keeping our goal of recruiting Black students, other students of color, and members of marginalized communities.
  • The team is building partnerships with teachers in traditional Boston public schools so we can support more student writers in these environments, and bring more BPS students into our afterschool programming
  • In June, the coaching and professional development team committed to a 10-week program of daily tracking and reflection aimed to improve habits around antiracist learning and action. (We were inspired by the tangibility of the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge created by diversity expert Dr. Eddie Moore.) This work included engaging in antiracist work daily under at least one of the following categories: reading, engaging, listening, watching, noticing, connecting, and acting. 
    • We tracked our progress in a spreadsheet that was shared with our network of educators. We dedicated time once a week to unpack our work together, including examining our own privilege and implicit bias, as well as digging into how racism plays out in schools.
    • We built up a vocabulary for talking about racism, implicit bias, and white privilege as it manifests in our personal and professional lives. For example, we looked at a set of “Racism Interruptions” from the Oregon Center for Educational Equity designed to challenge racist statements in both personal and school settings. 
    • Throughout this work, we are trying to stay aware of and interrogate the difference between our reading and research, our interpersonal moments of discomfort, and our connections to systems of oppression.
  • We have continued researching anti-racism teaching and coaching through reading and professional development trainings, such as the National Educator Anti-Racism Conference. We read How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. We are now reading Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice by Elena Aguilar to prepare ourselves for the current school year where coaching is the main part of our work. 
  • As coaches, our job often requires us to find ways to get other people to shift their mindset and practices. We are not the teachers, administrators or other staff directly impacting young people, but we are in a position to influence these adults. We have reflected back on experiences in schools to understand where racism shows up and we’ve started to add to our own consulting tool kit (strategies, approaches) for antiracist work, which includes 1) conversation starters around institutional, systemic, and organizational racism that exist in schools; 2) new lenses we can apply to our work as educators; 3) information and activities we more intentionally incorporate into professional development workshops.
  • We are reserving two regular times weekly to build up our knowledge base (theory) and to apply it to actual problems of practice we experience in our schools.
  • Our Development team has identified three major goals: telling the story of our work with an ethical lens; being more educative in our fundraising; and addressing power dynamics within WriteBoston’s foundation and corporate relationships.
  • To inform our development work, we have been following the Community-Centric Fundraising movement. Development staff are also educating ourselves about the intersections of education and racism.
  • We’ve begun an ethical storytelling audit of our fundraising and marketing communications, using a process from Philanthropy without Borders. This includes interviews of students, teachers, and supporters.
  • Our Development Committee–a group of board, staff, and volunteers–have met twice this summer to discuss how to apply a more explicit racial equity lens to our communications and fundraising events. We are developing a set of equity questions we ask ourselves when developing communications. The team used readings from Change Agent 2019 The Racism Issue as a starting point for thinking. 


June 12, 2020

Dear WriteBoston community,

WriteBoston believes that Black Lives Matter, and we stand with our students, educators, and partner organizations fighting for racial justice and equality. We have been distressed by the widespread discrimination and violence against Black people that has occurred in our country in the past weeks, both in the form of police violence and other types of ongoing institutional oppression.

Additionally, we recognize that the intersection of Black and LGBTQ+ identities has created a unique landscape for Pride Month this year, and we acknowledge the impact of these events on the Black LGBTQ+ community specifically.

Our education system has been deeply shaped by systemic racism, resulting in far-reaching inequities in both opportunities and outcomes for Black students. WriteBoston’s work is guided by our conviction to create a more equitable and just education system that our students deserve. 


  • We believe that students should have a voice in our schools and communities, and be able to both express themselves and advocate for themselves using their voices.
  • We believe that writing is a tool for empowerment and change making.
  • We believe that for students to participate in the fight for justice, strong writing and communication skills are essential.
  • We believe all students should have access to safe spaces inside and outside school where they can confide in trusted adult mentors.
  • We believe that teachers can and should be agents of change for racial justice.
  • We believe that schools must confront the systemic racism that runs through them and honestly acknowledge how this affects and harms students.
  • We believe that all students should have access to extracurricular opportunities that reinforce their in-school learning, regardless of their school’s funding.
  • We believe that it is essential that students can be informed and critical consumers of mass media.

Students’ lives are deeply shaped by school, and schools have the opportunity and responsibility to act against the systemic racial inequities present in our society. We are committed to working with youth and teachers to enable this necessary and long-overdue transformation.

WriteBoston approaches this in two ways. We support young people directly in our youth journalism program, Teens in Print. We also work at the district, school, and classroom levels by offering instructional coaching and professional development to educators.

Through all of our programming, we seek to develop students’ writing skills to build a better future for our youth and our communities. We know that our society is enriched by a more diverse group of people taking part in conversations about inequality, justice, and change.


Teens in Print is Boston’s citywide high school newspaper, with the goal of shepherding students through the writing, editing, and publishing processes. TiP has always directly discussed racial justice and other inequity issues in its programming because these are topics students often choose to write about.

Over the past decade, TiP has published countless articles about racism, police brutality, and the experiences of Black youth and other marginalized communities in Boston. Find a collection of TiP articles that address police brutality and racism here.

Along with fostering student writing, Teens in Print also works to expose students to diverse and thoughtful media content, and help them become intentional and informed consumers of news media. 

In order to correct the biases that exist in our media, it must be more representative of the community it serves. TiP is an example of what a diverse newsroom can look like, and it provides guidance and support to students who express interest in a media career after graduation.


In our coaching and professional development, we support teachers to provide all students with rigorous grade level texts and instruction. Our literacy coaches push teachers to hold all students to high standards and train them with strategies for doing so. 

The professional development team encourages the use of materials authored by writers of color, and uses an anti-racist lens in our trainings and offerings, from the images we choose of people in our slides to the model texts and exemplars we share. 


We know that we have continued work to do to live up to our organizational mission and to our students, teachers, and partners. As a small organization with a majority-white staff and board leadership, we know that institutionalized biases are inevitable, and we must name and address inequities in our organization and programs. 

As of June 11, 2020, 27% of our full-time staff and service members are people of color, 18% of whom are Black. Our board is 38% people of color, 23% of whom are Black.

We will continue to build a board and staff of diverse backgrounds, voices, and identities. This work includes interrogating our recruitment practices, ensuring that our office is designed for inclusivity, and providing more leadership and development opportunities that make space for professionals of color to affect positive change.

In the short-term, our staff has met and discussed action items for the next three months: 

  • In our Teens in Print program, we will design a virtual recruitment strategy for the upcoming school year that is inclusive and intentional about engaging with students underrepresented in media, including Black students. It is important that we engage a representative group of young journalists, regardless of the barriers that online learning may create. 
  • The curriculum for TiP’s Summer Journalism Institute will include a unit dedicated specifically to investigating the impact of institutionalized racism on the city of Boston. 
  • In our Professional Development program, we will spend focused time researching and synthesizing anti-racist teaching and coaching resources that we can use to develop our skills and pass on to teachers. Additionally, we will create a coaching toolkit to identifying where our teachers are with anti-racist education, and to differentiate professional development and coaching.
  • Our professional development team is committed to acknowledging our own racial identity, place of privilege and implicit bias in our conversations with school staff.
  • Instructional coaches will consistently surface intentional choices related to anti-racist strategies in our professional development materials, similar to how we consistently name the rationale behind literacy strategies.
  • As we plan events and communications, we will foster conversation and learning opportunities that confront racial justice issues and elevate Black writers and thought-leaders.

In our board meeting later this month, we will discuss how to authentically center racial justice in our mission statement and daily work. Our racial justice work must be even more explicit and actionable going forward, internally and externally. We commit to continuing this conversation and updating you as more concrete decisions are made.

We encourage you to be intentional about reading the work of Black authors, and sharing and amplifying Black voices. Teens in Print will continue to publish and share writing by Black students on our social media, along with highlighting work from our community partners through the summer. 

We are each lifelong learners. For those of us who are white, and therefore hold power and privilege, we must engage as readers, writers, and learners to educate ourselves and act if we are to create a more equitable shared future.

In solidarity,

The WriteBoston staff