Christy Crawford: Diversity, Belonging, and Racial Justice

In this series of blog posts, we asked our experts to share their perspectives on issues of race and racism and highlight the work they are doing in their respective fields. “What is your vision for the future of childhood? What are you doing in your professional capacity to achieve that vision, and/or who needs to do what to achieve that vision?”

Children should be seen, be heard, and be powerful

Christy CrawfordChristy Crawford is the Director of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for New York City’s Computer Science for All Initiative.

The world is communicating, expressing creativity, coping, and even protesting online. And yet, the poorest children are being silenced by the absence of training in the most powerful ways to reach large audiences. It is our duty to give these children the tools to actively engage in the new civil rights movement. Internet access is a basic human right. Equipment to communicate is a human right. If this human challenge was respected like a private sector challenge, it could be resolved and our children who have been underestimated and overlooked could receive proper equipment and broadband access.

The long, hot summer of COVID stress and racial unrest will give birth to new, young revolutionaries. We must be ready to passionately listen to children with dreams of revolution and show them new ways to solve problems efficiently. Educators at CS4All are working to show how data and algorithms can be used as tools of oppression or tools to liberate and unite the country. Of course, computer science, like any school subject, can be used to critically examine how racism and classism play a part in pandemics or to teach social justice. The youth are ready for lessons on change. It will require us to provide equipment, training, and simple civics lessons. It will require the correction of years of misinformation and manufactured history.

The sharing of privilege means providing the neediest families with tools to participate in the conversation of creating a just America. Sharing of privilege gives a voice to silenced children and their families. Subsequently, we can listen carefully and move accordingly.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

Christy Crawford | Jordan Taitingfong | Mariana Díaz-Wionczek | Martez E. Mott
Pablo MirallesRahsaan Harris | Stanley Pierre-Louis | Vicki Ariyasu