Rivier University highlights U.S. educational equity and access at My Brother's Keeper event

The University’s annual Brown vs. Board of Education event featured social entrepreneur Ron Walker, Executive Director of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color. Walker’s presentation, I am My Brother’s Keeper, addressed Rivier’s freshmen class on the Coalition’s activities to connect, inspire, support, and strengthen school leaders’ dedication to the social, emotional, and academic development of boys and young men of color.

“Continuously expanding educational opportunities is an investment in our collective future,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s president. “By raising our students’ awareness and providing opportunities to support these efforts, we advance the dialogue and progress toward educational equity for all students.”

Walker shared the historical importance of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision that ended state-sponsored segregation in public education; explored the ways equity continues to be elusive, specifically in regard to education for young people of color; and created awareness of organizations working toward providing equitable access and ways to support their activities.

At the conclusion of the presentation, questions from the audience were answered including “What should future teachers know?”  Walker responded, “I want teachers to first understand who they are. This understanding of self is first and foremost. Second, understand the student population that you are going to serve.  Often you may have something in common with them. Third, knowing what you are going to teach and being able to learn from master teachers. You want to be with people who understand success and excellence. That is part of the secret sauce. And lastly, be a constant learner.”

The I am My Brother’s Keeper presentation was a component of Rivier’s Student Success: Campus to Community program for first-year students. This program
is designed to help new students understand themselves as learners and servants of the community, and to increase their cultural awareness.

The event also supported Nashua Mayor James Donchess’ My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, a White House initiative aimed at helping youth achieve success in life. The Mayor spoke at the event, addressing the Rivier community as well as key Nashua city officials and members of the My Brother’s Keeper Leadership Committee.

Rivier’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Brown v. Board of Education Advisory Committee hosted the event. Since 2002, these groups have sponsored on- and off-campus events promoting educational equity and access in the United States.