We take an active stance against racism and white supremacy and an affirmative role in uplifting historically marginalized groups of people.
The Illuminated Life School exists because of the systemic failure of educational institutions to address the needs and aspirations of people of color and disenfranchised communities across the globe. What we have seen is that not only are educational institutions failing at their core mission, but unfortunately, they are great perpetrators of racism and white supremacy. Illuminated Life School exists to bring down the oppressive regime of white supremacist ideology and to empower people of color, those historically oppressed, and to liberate people of all races through education.
Because we believe that racism and white supremacy hurt us all, including white people, we stand in solidarity with all organizations and people who fight for racial justice. We actively work to dismantle all forms of racism (individual, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic) to end the oppression of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, which also ends White Supremacy.
We envision a community where each person is rooted in self-love and where we honor and celebrate our differences.
We seek to build a school that dismantles racism and the harmful impacts it has on humanity. We strive to decenter whiteness and embrace multiple racial perspectives. We seek to create a reality that affirms and acknowledges people of all races. The more we can begin to change the hearts and minds of people with each generation towards a racially just world, the better the world.
We commit ourselves to nourish and nurture our students and staff to attain their full potential as they need, to know themselves deeply, and to fully develop their unique genius. This means building meaningful connections with the communities we serve, honoring their perspectives and experiences, and opening pathways for people to fully develop their gifts. In this way, we aspire to give the youngest generations hope of a future that is not predetermined for them.
The future is based on the decisions we make today: right now.
This work is needed now as Black and Brown people are being murdered, suffering from lack of access to resources for wealth and health, and face the daily aggressions that create unsafe environments and an inability to thrive authentically. It matters because no human being should suffer oppression or experience attacks on their mental and physical well-being.
We must acknowledge the reality of racial injustice and make moves toward unity. The concept of race has been used to dehumanize, isolate and oppress certain people and groups – particularly Black people around the globe.
We seek to help heal the trauma of oppressed peoples and to interrupt the cycles of harm oppressors have perpetuated and been impacted by, too. We do this in order for everyone to fully develop their gifts and to support the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community.
Our country needs to heal from centuries of racism that has manifested in the form of violence and de jure and de facto racism, bias, and segregation. We can no longer ignore these issues or take an ahistorical stance; we need to look at this reality head on in order to heal as a society and to empower and provide safety to younger generations as they live their lives now and in the future.
We believe that Racial Justice can only be achieved through intentional and meaningful action. We do this through:
Racial Justice and Anti-Racism are core beliefs at Illuminated Life School. They are woven into everything we do, create, and into our culture. These are the lenses we look through in order to actively dismantle systems of oppression, center voices of communities of color, and acknowledge our impact.
+ Who We Serve
Illuminated Life School looks to undo educational inequities, especially the disproportionate distribution of high quality education and educational resources to white and affluent communities. Our headquarters resources our schools to remove barriers and expand access so that families who want their children at Illuminated Life School all have equal access. Illuminated Life School will operate in communities across the world and intentionally partner with, and be located in, communities of color. School leadership councils will be composed of racially diverse community advocates. Our student recruitment and outreach promote inclusivity of BIPOC youth and a diverse student body that is not predominantly white. Our students will reflect or extend the diversity of the community, and members of the community will see themselves reflected in our schools. Illuminated Life School is committed to being a place where children, families, and communities of color are affirmed, valued, and thrive authentically.
+ Who We Hire
Our hiring practices are intentional in design to recruit a racially diverse pool of candidates reflective of the school community and to hire individuals aligned with our commitment to racial justice and anti-racism. BIPOC are in leadership roles throughout the organization and BIPOC are never isolated in predominantly White spaces. We remove barriers to hiring and honor lived experience, innate talents, and strengths as valuable contributions. The Illuminated Life School hiring, coaching, and evaluation processes will be open, transparent, constructive and is a shared responsibility. We emphasize a non-hierarchical approach to professional growth, with all members of the community routinely visiting each other’s workspaces, providing constructive feedback and engaging in self-reflection based on what was observed. We believe this promotes a loving community in which members are not measured against white norms of success, but growth is encouraged through collective ownership, knowledge, experience and shared leadership. We ensure that BIPOC thrive as their authentic selves in every level of our organization. We create environments that promote healing from white supremacy. All employees are required to participate in on-going anti-racist and racial justice training and professional growth. All professional growth trainings, even if the topic is not racial justice, will be examined through an anti-racist lens and have anti-racist messaging incorporated. We do not tiptoe around systemic, individualized racism or white fragility. We foster a culture where triggers are appreciated as signposts to important learning. BIPOC team members are encouraged to pursue their personal and professional goals, reinforced by personal and professional growth experiences, that support upward mobility and growth towards leadership positions within the organization.
+ Who We Partner With
We make conscious decisions about who we partner with and prioritize contracting with BIPOC owned and operated, anti-racist organizations. If this is not possible, we will consider contracting with white owned and operated organizations with clear anti-racist values that can document they are working towards organizational integrity to anti-racism. Amongst these organizations, priority is given to those that can demonstrate a supply chain which empowers BIPOC owned contractors. We actively work to avoid partnering with organizations that are racially unconscious and/or uninterested in growing their racial consciousness.
+ Community Engagement
Illuminated Life School listens to the community as our guide to how we partner and engage. We seek community input in our decision-making and ensure community members, especially from the BIPOC community, are leaders within our organization. We gather direct input from families on their preferences for communication, engagement and leadership, with explicit attention to families’ cultural norms and racial experiences. We decenter whiteness by co-creating an expansive definition of engagement that honors different cultural approaches. Schools will have racial affinity groups for families and have parent representation on the leadership council, instead of running a traditional PTSA. We hold different school-wide events in a variety of languages, working to provide families with access to events in their primary language. Illuminated Life Schools are open campuses and are extensions of the community. Local community leaders and members can participate in our learning opportunities to raise racial consciousness and engage as active anti-racist leaders promoting racial justice throughout the community.
+ Systems and Operations
To fight against systemic racism in education, Illuminated Life School has been built from the ground up to be anti-racist. Illuminated Life School was designed by a collective of racially diverse individuals who asked at every step of development, “How would this look and feel if it was anti-racist?” This decentering of whiteness and disruption of racial inequities is baked into the policies and procedures, organizational structure, design of school buildings, and decision-making process. Unlike many other schools and institutions that are in the process of undoing years of racist practices that are built into their operations, Illuminated Life School throws those practices out completely and designs practices with BIPOC voices and needs at the center. We partner with community stakeholders who are racially diverse for feedback and input into our systems and operations. We value these community members and hold ourselves accountable to meeting their needs, taking action on their requests, and compensating for their valuable contributions. Our finances also reflect our commitment to racial justice as we ensure funding is allocated equitably and in full support of all necessary work that gets us to our goal of being an anti-racist organization.
+ Curriculum and Programming
All curriculum and programming is designed to cultivate anti-racist leaders. Students’ learning will not be Eurocentric, will counter the white dominant narrative, is multicultural, culturally relevant, culturally responsive and promotes a positive sense of identity, especially racial identity. Illuminated Life School has a learning strand dedicated to Racial Consciousness in which students from an early age, will learn about race and racism. Students will study and celebrate the contributions of communities and leaders of color, read from diverse authors and artists, and explore their own racial identity and roots. Students will understand White privilege, White supremacy, and how to be anti-racist leaders in their communities to disrupt racial inequities. The daily schedule, the annual calendar, after school programming, and planned special events are all designed through an anti-racist lens. For example, students are the creators of their own learning and the culture of the school. They choose what music, dance, arts and other activities to explore that highlight their own race and culture or to learn about other races and cultures. Programming reflects the rich diversity of our students and the larger community.