This project has concluded. Thank you for supporting The Equity & Justice Spirit Award!
The University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s mission statement commits to educational equity and work for justice, and members of the 2019 EdD cohort are driven to live into that mission. In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black bodies, we are moved to take bold steps for justice. We have seen our colleagues’ passion and we are inspired by the ways our cohort continuously fights for freedom. We believe in the power of students from the Pitt School of Education, and we want to see that work expanded to future students. The Equity & Justice Spirit Award will support Black students in the School of Education by celebrating their efforts to promote equity and justice and building their capacity to advance that work moving forward.
In its first semester together, the 2019 EdD cohort initiated a tradition to recognize and uplift fellow students. The Spirit Stick was a hollow cardboard tube wrapped in yellow Duct tape. At each class session, the prior recipient filled the tube with goodies, recognized the inspiring work of a fellow student through a brief speech, and passed the stick along to the new recipient. This tradition celebrated the inspiring work happening among us and built a community through encouragement. But, it was recently brought to our attention that, in Indigenous cultures, spirit sticks are treasured objects that take on sacred and medicinal significance. We now recognize that our use of the term “spirit stick” belittles this tradition. The 2019 EdD cohort spirit stick has been a source of encouragement and light for many of us in the past months, but now we have reassessed this practice and have come up with a new name that better honors its purpose: "The Equity and Justice Spirit Award.” We hope that moving forward this will be something we are all proud of and support.
We recognize that the pursuit of equity and justice is an effort that demands stamina and long-term commitment. Our ultimate goal is to gather at least $10,000, which will allow us to establish an endowed fund that will stand in perpetuity. We are beginning with those closest to us, asking that we can demonstrate our ability to live into our ideals by reaching at least $5,000 this summer. This will stand as evidence of the depth of our commitment that we can leverage when we expand our ask to a broader audience.
Every cent that we raise will be passed along to recipients of the newly founded Spirit Award. The award will be given to Black students at the Undergraduate, Masters, or Doctoral level who plan to serve as practitioners in a wide range of educational settings, including K-12, Higher Education, healthcare, informal learning, or other contexts. Recipients will be able to use the funds for tuition, books, supplies, or other educational costs. To extend the Spirit Stick’s legacy of community-building, members of the 2019 EdD cohort will also serve as mentors for award recipients, providing mentorship activities that celebrate successes, provide encouragement, and support accountability towards equity and justice.
Setting up an endowed fund is a bold goal. It means we need your support. Every dollar counts. If you are in the 2019 EdD cohort, we are asking you to give $150, the amount needed if the fundraising were split evenly across the cohort members to create an endowment. If you are not part of the 2019 cohort, we ask that you join us to ensure the impact of our efforts, in recognition that our abilities to give are not equal but are limited by the very inequities and injustices that this award addresses. We know $150 is a lot. But the injustice is vast. Will you commit, to honor the lives lost and to freedom dream through upcoming leaders? We need you now. Whatever you can give, your participation demonstrates your dedication to justice and to a re-envisioning of education that centers equity.
Contributions received for this project shall be used in accordance with the purpose described herein, the terms in the FAQs and applicable law. For questions that cannot be answered in the FAQs, please call 412-383-5001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every gift helps us get to our goal, no matter the size. Thank you for recognizing the importance of equity and justice through your generosity.
You value education and understand the importance of encouraging students as they pursue higher education, facing challenges along the way.
If every member of the 2019 EdD cohort gives $150, we will reach our goal of an endowed fund (meaning, this award will last forever rather than the money just being spent down until it’s gone).
Your contribution at this level ensures that the Spirit Award is sustained and will continue to support students in the future as they dream big.
You are committed to supporting the endowment through this generous gift, knowing that supporting Black students in the School of Education will pay dividends in the future as they fight for equity and justice. A gift at this level provides assurances that the fund will be available for years to come.