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In this month's newsletter we review our Equity Series sessions, spotlight changes with B2B staff members, celebrate our grads, and provide information on upcoming professional development opportunities. We are working passionately on creating dialogue, space, and opportunities for growth, healing, and learning. We appreciate your work and commitment to equity, and look forward to connecting with you soon.
-The B2B Team

     PROGRAM NEWS     

Building Bridges to Equity Updates

A Conversation on Equity & Mental Health in the Age of Covid with Dr. Tyrone Howard

The Building Bridges to Equity series continued on June 11th by welcoming back Dr. Tyrone C. Howard, professor, and author of several books examining the intersection of issues around culture, race, wellness, and learning. Dr. Howard joined B2B for an earlier series on Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline.

Dr. Howard engaged educators and juvenile justice colleagues from across the region engaged in dialogue centered on addressing inequities, supporting vulnerable populations during this particularly unique time, and expanding the collective knowledge, skills, and information to support students through the challenges of today. Topics discussed in this presentation included how to implement culturally responsive and trauma informed virtual and hybrid learning environments, prioritizing Black and Brown youth, and mental health supports for students and families. 

With nearly 200 educators attending this event, participants left with plans for supporting students into the fall. One educator shared plans for “holding space/awareness for the trauma students are experiencing due to COVID19 and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Giving them time/attention to process these emotions and also checking the ways I am doing so to make sure they are culturally-responsive and not 'white-washing' social/emotional learning.” Another committed to “trying not [to] judge my students and families, and definitely NOT taking it personally when they don't/can't engage.”  
Watch the webinar by selecting the player image above.

Jaime Almanzán and Aaron Johnson: Equitable Access in a Virtual Format

The Building Bridges to Equity series concluded  with two virtual gatherings  on April 29 and May 6 led by Jamie Almanzán and Dr. Aaron Johnson

During the two session series, over 100 participants engaged in dialogue around ways to bring greater awareness to racism, implicit bias, and systemic injustice, while providing equitable access to instruction in a virtual format. One teacher mentioned, “One of the best take-aways for me was understanding that my schema as a teacher might not be the same as my student's, therefore it is important for me to challenge my schema so that I can be a better listener for my students, a better teacher, and a better advocate.”

Part two of the virtual gathering  gave attendees  an opportunity for deeper discussion and collaboration on the documentary 13th.

“I know a lot of people, myself included, enjoyed being able to discuss a little bit about the documentary 13th and how powerful it is. Processing with colleagues the history of oppression that we continue to live in and how we can combat that in our professional roles in education was great” said Micaella Flores, B2B Professional Learning Lead Transition Specialist.

 "I think Jamie Almanzán is an excellent facilitator and his sessions are some of the most meaningful and engaging I have ever been to! I would definitely recommend his workshops to colleagues," stated one educator.

You can access slides from the presentation here.

B2B Staff Changes

New Team Members

Christy Lucus: Data & Communications Specialist
Christy joins B2B with nine years of education experience and a passion about youth advocacy, expanded opportunities for youth, and breaking down the school to prison pipeline. "I'm grateful to be in this role, to support this team of amazing individuals who make a difference in the lives of youth every day." In her free time she enjoys playing music, and hanging out with family.
Kadeem Minor: Transition Specialist
Kadeem comes to B2B with a Social Science degree from Warner Pacific University after studying in California. Kadeem hopes to help guide African American and multiracial children toward a more positive education experience in his work, and works toward "bridging gaps in the justice system for Black and Multiracial youth." In his free time he enjoys exercising, cooking, and spending time with family.

Best Wishes & Goodbyes to Senior Transition Specialist Aaron Kincy

After four years as the B2B team's Senior Transition Specialist, the team is saying goodbye to Aaron as he pursues the next steps in his career. Aaron shared his thoughts on his time at B2B by answering a few questions about what he's learned, advice he has for future staff, and his fondest memories:

What is something you learned from your time at B2B?
“One thing I’ve learned from being with B2B is that every youth deserves a chance to free and appropriate education services and access.”

What advice do you have for new Transition Specialists?
“Advice I have would be to get to learn each youth as an individual. Each service should be individualized and tailored to that specific youth's needs.”

What is one of your fondest memories from B2B?
 “A fondest memory would be all the great times working with Christine and the B2B team. Coming into work everyday was very pleasant. Also being able to make a positive impact on a youth’s education experience will be a great memory for myself.”

Anything else you would like to share about your B2B experience?
 “B2B has made great strides in providing transition services since starting in 2016. The expansion of the program is in great hands and I’m excited to see what B2B continues to do in the future.”

- Aaron Kincy, B2B's former Senior Transition Specialist

Team members also had best wishes and fond memories to share of their time working with Aaron:

"Bars to Bridges would not be Bars to Bridges without the experience, knowledge, dedication and passion that Aaron brought to the team. He has been with the program since inception and has served as a leader and an inspiration to our youth and to our team. To say he will be missed is an understatement of grand proportions. I am grateful for all he did to impart his vision and wisdom with the team." - Christine Otto, B2B Project Director 

"Whenever Aaron was in the office, he always made you laugh and see the bigger picture. He always remained focused on the best interests of our clients, and remained loyal and consistent to youth. I'm so proud of Aaron. And I'm so lucky that I was able to work beside him. He is an incredible leader. He always made the office a safe place and promoted self-care, self-growth, and opportunities. He is loyal to the soil." - Hannah Haugen, Transition Specialist

"He was consistently positive, helpful, curious, passionate, driven, willing to learn, and an overall exceptional person and co-worker. We laughed a lot and he was always supportive in challenging situations. We had some great conversations about life, professionally and personally. He will be greatly missed on the B2B team!" - Aketi Merrick, Transition Specialist

“If Aaron was in the office you were sure to have some laughs. I always appreciated the bright and positive attitude he brought into the office. His comedy and conversations will be missed! Aaron was just such an awesome lead in every area. He was so patient yet would challenge me and push me and he truly helped me grow as a professional and for that I am thankful.” - Amanda Swartzmiller, Transition Specialist, Court Intervention Lead

“Something I learned from Aaron is to find the good or see a positive outlook on something. We may hit a lot of bumps in the road in our roles, but he always encouraged us to find another route or way to look at it. He is a supportive and encouraging team member who always has your back. I couldn't have asked for a better lead. I'll always try to see the bright side and come with the same vibes he always gave. I'm going to miss his positivity and all his maple and brown sugar oatmeal filled mornings.” - Micaella Flores, Transition Specialist, Professional Learning Lead

Congratulations to Graduates of 2020

As B2B Seniors prepared for their graduation and end-of-year celebrations, things operated a bit differently than usual. Social distancing limitations had some B2B Transition Specialists getting creative with ways they stayed in touch and supported their student’s accomplishments. From doorstep deliveries, Amazon orders, to hand-made cards, B2B staff have found ways to stay connected with youth and help them celebrate their success during these unique times. Congratulations 2020 Grads!


Blacks in Oregon
The Oregon Encyclopedia, from the Oregon Historical Society, is a comprehensive and dynamic compilation of information, perspectives, and cultural stories of the state of Oregon. One essay in particular, Blacks in Oregon, by Darrell Millner, provides a detailed examination of Oregon Black history, highlighting the often untold experiences of our Black leaders of Oregon, and their contributions to prominent historical events.

Reconstruction in America
This short video from the Equal Justice Initiative tells the story of post civil war America, the history of racial injustice in our country, and the parallels we see with current events today.

Racism Interruptions
This list provides ideas on ways to respond with clear communication against racism, and statement examples for people to use to initiate a stand against racist comments. 

Anti-Racist Guide
A starter guide of self-education consisting of documentaries, shows, movies, books, TED Talks and more. Many free options are available with a Netflix subscription.


The USC Race and Equity Center hosted an interactive panel discussion with professionals and educators focusing on white people’s roles and responsibilities in talking about racism with other whites. The conversation centered around a few main themes: self-education, self awareness, and skill building, while panelists shared personal stories of learning and growth in their own journeys of anti-racism. “White people are part of the problem and therefore part of the solution, and must get comfortable with being uncomfortable” one panelist stated. “We are behind the curve as white people when it comes to talking about race, and we need to catch up.” You can view the forum discussion video here.


July 14-28 - Why We Act: Turning Bystanders Into Moral Rebels
In this bi-weekly book study, engage in dialogue with educators across the region about the bystander effect as well as ways to move past it and combat bullying, harassment and injustice.
July 22 - Aug 20 - White Fragility
In these bi-weekly sessions, educators will engage in dialogue with others across the region about white fragility and racism.
Sept 15 to Oct 13 - Pushout
In this weekly book study, engage in dialogue with educators across the region about the school to prison pipeline as it uniquely impacts black girls. 

      DID YOU KNOW?      

Black youth had the highest graduation rates in the state of Alabama (86.5%), and the lowest rates in Minnesota (64%) in a 2017 study from the US Dept of Education. Oregon was one of seven states with graduation rates for Black youth falling below 70%.
(Source: The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Racial Gap in Traditional High School Completion Rates)
Bars to Bridges supports African American, Black, Biracial and Multiracial students as they transition from the juvenile justice system to school settings. Please visit our website for more information. 
Copyright © 2020 Bars to Bridges, All rights reserved.

Bars to Bridges is a program offered by Multnomah Education Service District.

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