Our Vision

Protecting Our Dignity in Education

We are protectors of the joy and dreams of our Black and Brown youth, working toward a world where their full personhood, dignity, safety, and culture is celebrated by their schools and communities; where all children are welcomed and valued to their fullest potential; and where spaces are co-created to heal past harms, prevent future harm, and manifest dreams.

We are harnessing this vision to lift the voices of Black and Brown youth, creating space for their full selves to exist, bringing forward their stories of joy and light, their way.


Origin Story

Protecting Our Dignity (POD) in Education is a table of beloved organizations that center the voices of over 32,000 Black and Brown youth in Durham, North Carolina.

POD was born from the We Are The Ones (WATO) coalition. WATO initiated a mini grant process to support neighborhood-level efforts that were addressing the needs of deeply hurting communities suffering from the triple pandemic of poverty, violence, and the pandemic. That process yielded fifty submissions and most included addressing youth and their needs. POD was naturally formed to allow the coalition to expand its support of youth, the ways in which they learn, and open its arms to other organizations and community members who wish to do the same.

Our Approach

A multi-generational, Black and Brown-led coalition design team came together from August-December to create and refine a framework that was based on existing research, lived experiences, and what we’ve heard being on the ground with families, caregivers, and youth. The coalition discussed our collective dreams, vision, values, and came up with ideas for this framework. Then, we sat with those ideas, examined them, challenged them until we came to consensus on these priorities for our education framework.

The education framework includes 5 focus areas that outline our action plan. With your help over the next 3 months, we intend to identify the strategies, tactics and assets under each focus area that will result in an action plan for doing our work collectively.

Plan of Action

Plan of Action

Over the next 3 months, we will look deeply into the 5 education focus areas by continuing to dig into existing research and talking collectively about opportunities for policy, system, program and community change. We will then align on interest, opportunity and map our assets—the real Durham heroes and organizations who influence youth and their educational experiences.