In this #AmplifyVoices feature, Pittsburgh-based Repair the World Fellow, Rebecca Sufrin interviewed Ciara Bailey, a junior at Winchester Thurston School, racial justice activist, and author of a powerful recent essay about her own personal experiences with racism.
Which aspects or actions of racial justice work have you found most meaningful so far?
The most meaningful action I have been a part of has been working with Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, specifically on our campaign to help stop the school-to-prison pipeline. Through this work, I have learned so much about the underlying causes of the school-to-prison pipeline and their possible solutions. Brainstorming ways to help repair our education system and keep young people, particularly people of color, out of prison feels like progress.
What advice would you give someone just getting started in this type of work?
I find it helpful to remember that there is no quick fix to racial injustice on an institutional level. It is easy to get discouraged with this work, and sometimes it can seem like I’m doing all of this organizing and rallying and learning without seeing much of a change. So it is important to recognize that while racism is a really big issue to tackle, all of this work will pay off in time. In other words never give up – it sounds cliche, but it’s true!
What are the three most important qualities of a racial justice change maker?
In my opinion, the most important qualities are a willingness to teach and learn, good collaboration skills and, above all, patience!