Community as the cornerstone

Rising together for justice


Uprisings over systemic racial inequality in addition to the inequities laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic have rocked our nation over the past year. Following a pattern of injustice that persists generation after generation, it is communities of color once again suffering the most harm across myriad dimensions, from health disparities to financial well-being to fear for their physical safety. And, most distressingly, society continues to fail young people in these communities — neglecting our duty to provide an education that sustains students and empowers them to achieve their aspirations. mia-0531-469w.jpg



Education is central to creating a more equal and plural society. But educational systems, including colleges of education like ours, also maintain structures of oppression that harm communities of color. As an institution committed to the public good, the University of Washington College of Education carries a responsibility to take action and change this dynamic.

While our College has partnered with schools and communities for many years, we realize there is much more for us to do. To be truly in partnership with community requires fostering relationships based on mutual respect and shared purpose while also acknowledging the unequal power and privilege that threaten those relationships.

A commitment to creating authentic and impactful relationships with community partners, tribes and school districts provided the genesis for the College’s Unite:Ed alliance. Established in 2017, Unite:Ed is bringing together families, community leaders, practicing educators and researchers in long-term collaborations to co-design solutions to the issues that matter to our partners. In this year’s edition of Research That Matters, we explore what it means to engage in equitable community research partnerships. In the pages to come, you’ll read more about Unite:Ed and other community-research partnerships that are co-designing justice centered strategies to create better futures for youth.

We know that education is a cornerstone for belonging, opportunity and a vibrant society. And, we know disrupting oppressive practices and policies for the long run takes researchers, educators and communities who share a dedication to learning and growing together. Disrupting and dismantling deep structural racism is not easy work. But it is necessary work. Our College is committed to working with communities who are leading this struggle for liberation and self-determination. Together, I believe with my heart and soul that we will transform our society and ensure every child can achieve their fullest potential.

Mia Tuan
Dean, University of Washington College of Education