In the last Integrated Schools podcast, Courtney and Andrew talked about Erica Chenoweth’s concept of the 3.5%, how meaningful social change really only takes a measly 3.5% of the population to engage. Courtney started Integrated Schools on a laptop in her dining room (or often, sitting on the roof of her house). She worked tirelessly to connect with parents around the world to talk about integration, and our responsibility in the work of social justice.
She grew this movement to one that boasts chapters in over 20 cities, an incredible advisory board of thought leaders and advocates in the education space, a dedicated parent board, a plethora of book clubs, publication of regular blog posts and more formal, to-be-released, resources for families, a dynamic social media presence that connects people from around the country, and, of course, production of a pretty remarkable podcast. She was sure that 2020 would bring us closer to that 3.5% engagement that we needed to affect real meaningful social change, and was so excited about what was in store for Integrated Schools.
Many Integrated Schools parents have shared their memories and stories about how Courtney directly impacted their lives. People like Garrett Bucks, who wrote about Courtney’s legacy here, or even the magnificent Nikole Hannah-Jones, who gave a public acknowledgement of the important work Courtney was doing. We encourage you to lift up the work that most impacted you, and we will continue to share it. Every single tweet, post, comment, or share is seen, appreciated, and feeds hungry souls who are missing our fearless leader.
Courtney’s connections with everyone were often deep and personal. She interacted with us during important moments in our parenting lives. As such, she feels like family, and many people have expressed a desire to care for her husband and children in this time of loss. Rest assured Courtney had an amazing local community in Los Angeles that is meeting their needs, and Courtney’s family has made it clear they desire any gifts in her honor to be given to Integrated Schools to continue this work that was so important to her.
If you are wondering how you can help in this time of grief, please consider donating to Integrated Schools in order to ensure this work continues. As a community, we have this opportunity to show our gratitude for the time and energy she poured into each of us. We can never replace Courtney, but we can ensure her legacy continues to grow through Integrated Schools. She wanted this thing to stand on its own two feet, and we can assure you it will. There is a dedicated group of us, her “all-volunteer army” as she called it, who is as committed as ever to continuing and growing this movement. We want to assure you that the team she built of dedicated integration warriors is here, grieving, but determined to make her proud.
While we carry grief and heavy hearts, we remain committed to attaining Courtney’s dream of the 3.5%.