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African American Student Initiative (AASI)
The Michigan Department of Education's efforts to support African American students began in 2015 with the creation of the African American Young Men of Promise Initiative (AAYMPI). In 2017, the Initiative expanded to include the support for young Black men and women in Michigan schools through the African American Student Initiative (AASI). To date, the AASI is the only State-level Initiative to reach classrooms and has engaged with over 1,500 Michigan educators.
Each year the Initiative is designed to take educators on a journey that focuses on personal and professional transformation by providing the brave space to reflect and dialogue about topics that are central to our collective humanity. Together educators engage in learning that explores facets of their cultural selves and the intersection of their multiple identities. Additionally, the Initiative equips educators to examine and interrogate individual and collective values and beliefs to eliminate marginalization, disparities, and disproportionality within Michigan schools. Integrating knowledge, skills, and behaviors that systemically eradicate racism and advance diversity, justice, equity, and inclusion is the core of this Initiative.
The initial Phase of the AASI grounds participants in a common vocabulary and understanding of topics such as race, racism, microaggressions, privilege, implicit bias, equity, and inclusion through dialogue and self-reflective practices. Educators are provided space to examine and critique their existing individual and collective belief and value systems that reproduce inequities in the status quo.
The next Phase of the Initiative builds on Phase 1 learning of self-reflective practice, dialogic communication structures, and the common understanding of topics such as race, racism, privilege, and implicit bias. Phase 2 continues the journey of examining and dismantling systemic barriers of race, power, and privilege in educational spaces. Together, Michigan researchers, practitioners, and educators engage in shared learning to transform critical consciousness from theory to action by addressing social injustices that prohibit liberation, justice, and the prioritizing of humanity in educational systems.
Each Phase is:
- Available for educators across Michigan;
- Free for educators associated with schools designated as Comprehensive Support & Improvement (CSI), Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI), and Additional Targeted Support (ATS); and
- Offered with FREE SCECHs