Overcoming Homelessness Through Education Means Fighting Racism

We are sickened, saddened, and angered by the virulent racism in our nation. While this racism has been unveiled in horrific ways in recent days, we know it underlies profound historic and current inequities in education, early care, homelessness, and all aspects of our lives.

The harmful impacts of racism begin before birth and are evident in early childhood, K-12, and higher education. Our own research shows that Black high school students are 2.67 times more likely to experience homelessness, and that Hispanic high school students are 1.68 times more likely to experience homelessness, than White high school students. These students are significantly less likely to graduate from high school, and therefore to continue to experience homelessness as adults.

Racial inequity is apparent in early childhood and higher education, as well. Infants and toddlers of color experience significant disparities in key areas of maternal and child health, and young children of color lack access to high quality, state-funded early childhood programs. A national survey of two- and four-year colleges noted that Black college students have higher rates of homelessness, at 20% in comparison to the national average of 17%.

Our mission of overcoming homelessness through education requires us to speak out against systemic and structural racism, and to work for racial justice and equity across systems. This means listening and learning with humility. It means speaking out in solidarity, not only in this present moment, but each and every day. And it means taking specific, intentional, and thoughtful action to support equity and fight racism.

We invite others to join our team in supporting organizations like Black Lives MatterNAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Bail Fund Network, and the Workers Center for Racial Justice.

We urge parents and educators to talk about racism in age-appropriate ways, including through resources for young children and school-age children. And we offer our support to partners nationwide, as you continue to support children, youth, and parents of color experiencing homelessness as they process this additional, devastating grief and anger. We are listening to and learning from our scholars, now more than ever.