Join live or receive a link to the recording and earn a CE certificate

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Key Role of Educators in the Emerging Field of Children’s Racial Learning

Thursday, March 16, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

The Key Role of Educators in the Emerging Field of Children’s Racial Learning

Presented by Andrew Grant-Thomas, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Co-Director, EmbraceRace; Debbie LeeKeenan, Social Justice Educator, Lecturer, Consultant, and Author; and Christina Rucinski, Ph.D., Research-to-Practice Program Manager, EmbraceRace
Moderated by Melissa Giraud, Co-Founder and Co-Director, EmbraceRace

Sponsored by EmbraceRace

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

The headlines tell us that in recent years our schools have become a battleground over whether and how to teach our children about race and racism. In EmbraceRace’s recent Reflections report, they begin to chronicle the counter-narrative, highlighting the emergence of a multi-sectoral field of learning and practice centered on children’s racial learning. The Reflections report provides insights from leading experts in education, parenting, children’s media, healthcare, and social science research on the critical work being done in this emerging field, and on what more can be done to teach children about race in healthy, affirming ways.

During this edWebinar, you learn about why effective guidance and modeling from adults is necessary to help kids overcome the odds of developing racial biases and anxieties and be more prepared to act in ways that help dismantle structural racism. The presenters invite educators to consider how they can join the diverse and growing group of educators, parents, media professionals, healthcare providers, and others who are planting the seeds of healthy racial learning for children across America. In addition, they share ideas and resources for educators who are motivated to help build the field of children’s racial learning.

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to PreK-12 teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders.

Andrew Grant-ThomasAbout the Presenters

As Co-founder and Co-director, Andrew Grant-Thomas, Ph.D. (he/him) leads efforts to support parents, educators, and other caregivers to raise children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race. Dr. Grant-Thomas is a dad to Lola and Lena, a partner to Melissa, an only child, a long-time racial justice guy, and a Black man of Jamaican origins in the United States, born on the 4th of July. His main commitments are to promoting racial and social justice and he is grateful to have worked with or otherwise had his thinking shaped by such brilliant, fierce advocates as Michelle Alexander, Cathy Cohen, Angela Davis, Christopher Edley, Gary Orfield, bell hooks, and john powell. In stops that include the Harvard Civil Rights Project, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, and the Proteus Fund, he has worked on issues from mass incarceration to PK-12 educational segregation, immigration to death penalty abolition, and race and redistricting to structural racialization. Through it all, and now at EmbraceRace, he champions efforts he believes can make a meaningful difference for real people and communities—not 100 years from now, but in his lifetime and the lifetimes of his two tween children. Dr. Grant-Thomas earned his BA in literature from Yale University, his MA in international relations from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

Debbie LeeKeenanDebbie LeeKeenan is a long-time social justice educator, lecturer, consultant, and author. She has been in the field of early education for over 50 years. She is a former preschool, special education, and elementary school teacher. She was director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University from 1996 to 2013. She has been a member of the early childhood faculty at Tufts University, Lesley University, and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Debbie is a producer of the award-winning film, Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years, released in April 2021. Her work has been published in numerous journals and books, including Young ChildrenExchange, and Theory into Practice. Her most recent co-authored books include: From Survive to Thrive: A Director’s Guide for Leading an Early Childhood Program and Leading Anti-bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change. Debbie was awarded the 2022 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Asian Interest Forum Leadership Award for demonstrating professional excellence, integrity, and social responsibility to better the lives of many children, families, the ECE workforce of Asian descent, and the ECE field as a whole. Debbie is Chinese-American, the child of immigrant working-class parents, and is part of a multi-racial family.

Christina RucinskiChristina Rucinski, Ph.D. (she/her) is a White former educator and academic, serving as the Research-to-Practice Program Manager at EmbraceRace. In this role, she translates insights from scientific research to inform caregiver and educator practices to support healthy racial learning in young children. Dr. Rucinski has worked with children for most of her life, including as an early childhood educator and in collaboration with the content research team at Sesame Workshop. She holds a Ph.D. and MA in applied developmental psychology from Fordham University and a BS in psychology from Tufts University. As a developmental scientist, she has conducted research on children’s social-emotional learning, classroom racial and ethnic diversity, and teacher-student relationships across racial lines. She brings this evidence-based lens to her work with EmbraceRace, in translating from research to practice and back again. Outside work, Dr. Rucinski is often watching and reading sci-fi, collaging, and birding with her partner.


Melissa Giraud

About the Moderator

Melissa Giraud (she/her) is co-founder and co-director of EmbraceRace. She has spent a lifetime trying to center the voices, experiences and concerns of children and families, with a particular interest in immigrant kids of color and first-generation children. She is the multiracial (Black/White) daughter of immigrants from Dominica and Quebec. Professionally, Melissa has sought to empower marginalized kids and families, first as an elementary school educator teaching in a bilingual (Spanish/English) program in a predominantly Mexican and Mexican American neighborhood in Chicago, then as an NPR producer in DC driven to recruit voices and perspectives from communities of color in the newsroom, and later as a radio reporter who collaborated with her former elementary students as they were coming of age to capture the experience of living biculturally and transnationally for NPR. Melissa earned a BA in history from the University of Chicago and an MA in education from The Ohio State University.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Founded in 2016, EmbraceRace organizes and creates the resources, programs, and communities parents, educators and other adults need to raise children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race so that multiracial democracy in the U.S. can thrive. There is a growing body of research and evidence that makes clear that children’s racial sensibilities begin to form in infancy, that almost all children develop racial and other biases by kindergarten, and that those biases become fairly entrenched by adolescence. And yet, most national organizations dedicated to children’s racial learning direct their resources mainly to middle and high school educators. There are too few resources for younger children available for parents, grandparents, or other caregivers or for early and elementary childhood educators. EmbraceRace helps fill that gap.



Thursday, March 16, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Event Categories:
, , ,
Event Tags:
, , , , ,
Back to Top