ETHS to host first ever Parent Summit this fall

Sarah Frieman, Executive Editor

In efforts to further engage parents and caregivers in conversation about racism and equity, ETHS will host the first ever Parent Summit Oct. 13.

“The vision of this day is to bring parents and guardians in to have honest and courageous conversations about race, racism, equity, and education,” Equity Analyst Lauren Hamilton said. “The same kind of conversations that we encourage and expect our students to be able to have.”

The summit will feature two keynote speakers, historian Dr. Ibram Kendi and critical race theorist Dr. Jacqueline Badagora, who will talk about topics such as the history of racism and privilege. The summit will then have three breakout sessions led by students, teachers and administration.

“We are going to provide accessibility to these conversations through grounding them in history,” Hamilton said. “If we know the history about the ways our society has been constructed, we can analyze it and have conversations that way.”

In order to include a diverse group of parent voices, organizers have been intentional with their advertising and marketing, attempting to reach out to all members of the community. In addition, to make the event accessible for everyone, childcare will be offered for the duration of the event.

“The important thing is for everyone internalize racist ideas, thoughts, and whiteness to a certain extent, even if you’re not white,” Hamilton said. “It’s relevant to everyone, and it’s just being intentional about making that connection for folks.”

To help plan the event, Hamilton reached out to many parents in the community, including people from groups such as Boosters and Latino Advisory Committee, as well as teachers and faculty, to organize a planning committee of around 20 people.

“As a parent, it’s really important to keep having these conversations,” Booster Vice President Chaniece Brown said. “I also really like hearing about the experiences of other Evanstonians.”

Although the parent summit will likely have conversations similar to those that took place at previous ETHS student summits, it is different from any other as it is not identity-based, rather is bringing together parents from all different backgrounds.

“It’s a little more complex because we have to make sure that we are creating spaces where everyone feels seen, heard, and able to engage in these conversations, understanding of course that comfort isn’t necessarily the goal because we need to be uncomfortable to be able to really do some unpacking,” Hamilton explained.

To continue the conversation post-summit attendees will receive follow up information on ways they can stay connected with the school, such as joining parent involvement groups like Evanston Black Advocacy Network and Latino Advisory Committee. In addition, the committee hopes to make the Parent Summit an annual event.