Commitment to Antiracist Action

The ACCIS Board of Trustees approved the Commitment to Antiracist Action (CtAA) in late January 2021 and the Commitment was shared with the membership in mid-February. Below is the text of the email sent to ACCIS members. We welcome questions about the CtAA, initial and subsequent Action Steps, and our accountability to them as an Association and as individual leaders. Please feel free to forward questions to Emmi Harward, Executive Director.  

ACCIS's Commitment to Antiracist Action (CtAA)

Roadmap to the Commitment to Antiracist Action

Help us share the CtAA with your school's leaders.

February 18, 2021

Dear ACCIS Colleagues,

When I spoke to you during our virtual Membership Meeting in September, I reflected on the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and the reckoning with yet more violence against BIPOC people that shone a spotlight on perpetual systemic racism in our country. While I hope the new year has brought some light and hope to all of you, January 2021 quickly made clear that there is much work ahead of us and challenges that cannot be overcome by the turning of the calendar page.

During those fall remarks, I shared that ACCIS was embarking on important work to draft a Commitment to Antiracist Action (CtAA) to provide us with concrete guideposts by which we will staff and govern the organization, advance antiracist practices for college counseling programs in our schools, and hold ourselves accountable to the ongoing work that is required of all of us. A working group was established and worked to gather input from the membership and from peer organizations. Many thanks to Frank Cabrera (Horace Mann School), Lisa Clay (The Out-of-Door Academy), Michele Davis (The Walker School), Andrea Pien (Friends’ Central School), and Stacy Richardson (Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School) who gave their time, energy, and wisdom to this important work; we are deeply indebted to them for their clarity of purpose and prose.

The committee crafted a document and presented it to the Board in late January, and I am pleased to share that your Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the attached Commitment to Antiracist Action. The Roadmap linked below summarizes the work of the team and the multifaceted outreach to the membership that resulted in this important Commitment. More important than how we got here, however, is where we go from here. 

This Commitment is intended to be a living, evolving documentation of our pledge to do better. We must be intentional in our actions as leaders in our Association, in our schools, and in the college admissions profession to dismantle the systemic racism that is embedded in our communities. The work of creating antiracist schools and communities is not a box to be checked, but an ongoing effort marked by choices we make every day.

I call your attention specifically to the Action Steps outlined after the Commitment. These are intended to push our collective consideration, but by no means represent the full breadth of the work that must be done. They serve as an important representation of the actual work of our Commitment, but they are neither comprehensive nor finite. In adopting the Commitment to Antiracist Action, your Board committed to not only govern by these guidelines, but to update you as we hold ourselves accountable and continue to add to the Action Steps to meet the challenges of leading antiracism work in ACCIS and our schools.

I urge you to read the Commitment carefully and allow yourself time to reflect and digest the weight of what it represents. Carve out time with your staff to talk about its intentions and implications. Share it with your head of school/division head and your school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner(s) to add to the work you are doing at your school and gather input on how you can uphold the Commitment not simply in your office, but across your communities.

Please also consider this an invitation. While we were gratified and informed by the broad input gathered from the membership in crafting the Commitment in the past few months, the work will continue and our efforts will grow. Your input and work on behalf of ACCIS are the hallmarks of our organization. These may be difficult topics to face for some, and we need your leadership. I know the rest of the Board joins me in urging you to reach out to discuss the Commitment to Antiracist Action and how we can use it to stretch our impact.

Many thanks and please send questions our way.

Amy Rogers, Miss Porter’s School
ACCIS Board Chair