Our mission is to dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline for children of color, and children in poverty, through education.
In 2007, the Minority Over-representation Committee of the Best Practices Court decided to adopt a new approach to address the issue of minority over-representation across our systems.
Our research documented that children and youth of color are more likely to be poor than their white peers; more likely to be involved in the child welfare system; more likely to age out of the foster care system without permanence; less likely to graduate on time; more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system; and ultimately more likely to be involved in the adult system of justice.
Based on that research our new approach focuses on ensuring that children and youth have support to successfully achieve educational milestones as a key to escaping poverty and "our systems."
We made a goal to encourage all youth to pursue higher education, to support teachers to be successful educators, and educate parents on what it takes to be college ready and to hold your child and your child's school accountable.
The first Educating Children of Color Summit took place in January 2008. Approximately 350 educators, students, parents, and juvenile justice and child welfare professionals attended the first summit.
Since then, attendance has increased dramatically.
The following responses were received from a representative of the Colorado Springs Police Department who recently attended Diversity University:
"Attending Diversity University was a powerful and emotional journey. It challenged the unconscious biases we all have and reminds us to not believe everything we think. Exploring these difficult topics in an open and safe setting allowed myself to really hear where others were coming from in regards to their experience or perception of law enforcement. From a law enforcement perceptive with everything going on, it taught us how to put our ego aside and start on the journey learning to love beyond ourselves and to reach out and wipe the tears of those who grieve."
Story From Skyler Joe McPhail: I am a first generation student. Amongst all odds I have succeeded. I am by definition an under served student, a child faced with the problems of poverty. As an adult I have hit the same dilemma. Still impoverished, but not for long. I hate to look the statements above in the eye, and I still deny that I am either of those retched things. I might not have had a lot growing up, nor was I afforded the education that my counter parts received, but I received much more. Through hardship come satisfaction of learning your strengths, and weaknesses, but not just that. Learning your opponents weaknesses as well. I lost my father at a young age, and still deal with the the regret and grief everyday. I was always told that. "success just wasn't for me." and "someone has to fry the fries at McDonald's" All throughout high school those who were my educational mentors took it upon themselves to show me how impoverished I was. During my sophomore year I found Educating Children of Color INC, and gasped on for dear life to their mission. I was determined to succeed. Determined to let everyone know that I was not a fry-master. Graduating Sierra High School in 2016, and UCCS with not just one, but three individual Bachelors Degrees in May 2018, and moving onto two Masters Degrees and anticipating graduation from both May 2020. I have succeeded, The problems that I have had may be insignificant, and I am by far better off than most, but I did not quit, nor should you.
Keep Moving On.
James E. Allen
2018 Educating Children of Color Summit
February 15, 2018
I was privileged this year to attend the 2018 Educating Children of Color Summit at Colorado College. It was a great experience and I did not know it would be such an outstanding event with hundreds of attendees from all over the country. The summit drew people from all walks of life and those with diverse backgrounds and cultures. I was whole heartedly impressed with the guest speakers and they left a profound impact on me as a parent, professional, and life long student. This was an exceptionally well-coordinated and facilitated summit and the venue was perfect. At the conclusion of the summit I was already making plans to attend next year's summit as well. The summit was a beautiful collaboration of city and country officials, parents, students, educators, and many other professionals.
My goal is to reach out to my employer, the Colorado Springs Police Department, to enlist the support of my supervisors to send other police officers to the summit next year. I strongly feel that the ECOC Summit is a bridge to awareness and a great outreach resource to help the law enforcement community more effectively serve the citizens of Colorado Springs and better understand the local cultural climate. This summit provides a powerful networking tool and a door of opportunity for positive change within our community.
Dr. Regina Lewis told such an inspiring and amazing story that it struck a cord within me. Jalen Kennedy's school to prison pipeline presentation was enlightening. Kaye Whitehead and Gwen Webb-Hasan also delivered insightful and motivating presentations. They brought an element of knowledge and experience on cultural issues that I have never been exposed to. In addition to that, they offered great solutions and resources to stem the tide of some of the adverse trends that are affecting children of color every day throughout our country. I am very grateful for the beautiful vision of those that have invested so much time and effort into establishing such a tremendous summit.