Talking with a teacher about whom she is — and is not — calling on in class. Discussing the fact that some groups of students are being suspended more than others with school board members. Examining how your district recruits, hires, and places teachers, and whether they reflect the students in your classrooms and what that means. The work of identifying and then undoing inequities in schools requires knowledge, skills, and vision. It’s hard, and it requires courage and continuous learning. That’s why our team at the NYC Leadership Academy is always seeking out resources that help us reflect on the work in new and different ways.

As is our annual tradition, we present our staff’s list of equity-focused readings, films, podcasts, and other resources we found compelling in 2018. We hope you will find them useful and share them widely.

This list is by no means comprehensive, and we would love to expand it. Please tell us about the resources you have found valuable to your work and thinking on equity — post them on Twitter with the hashtag #EquityReads2018 and our handle @NYCLeadership, or email them to so we can add them to this list.


Inspired by the events surrounding the police shooting of Oscar Grant, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is the story of a 16-year-old girl who witnesses the police shooting of her friend and the events that follow. Leadership Academy Vice President of District Leadership Dr. Michele Shannon calls this book “amazing.”

Race Frameworks: A Multidimensional Theory of Racism and Education by Zeus Leonardo offers guidance for instructors and researchers around the frameworks of race and racism in education, including Critical Race Theory, Marxism, Whiteness Studies, and Cultural Studies.

White Latino Privilege: Caribbean Latino Perspectives in the Second Decade of the 21st Century by Dr. Gabriel Haslip-Viera explores the often-ignored concept of white Latino privilege and how it shows up in a multitude of ways—not just in America but throughout many other Spanish-speaking countries.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo explores the origins of white fragility, how it feeds racial inequality, and how we can combat it.

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo discusses the racial landscape in America, covering everything from police brutality to intersectionality to micro-aggressions.

Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond is a guide to culturally responsive instruction, providing a neuroscience-backed approach to implementation.

The School Leaders Our Children Deserve by George Theoharis recounts the experiences of school leaders committed to advancing equity, social justice, and school reform, providing examples of why social justice leadership is necessary.

Chief Access & Equity Officer Mary Rice-Boothe recommends Culturally Responsive School Leadership by Muhammad Khalifa. Writes Mary, “It demonstrates how leaders can engage students, parents, teachers, and communities in ways that positively impact learning by honoring indigenous heritages and local cultural practices.”

Student Voice: An Instrument of Change by Russell J. Quaqlia and Michael J Corso aims to help improve instruction by encouraging educators to truly listen to students and learn from what is shared.

Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody is an autobiographical story of the author’s upbringing in rural Mississippi. “Though published in 1968, the book has real relevance in today’s racially charged America,” says Leadership Academy Coach Patricia Hines. She shared a line that resonated with her: “Yet this was America, ‘the land of the free and home of the brave,'” 14-year-old Anne said as she was dragged away and arrested while sitting in at a Woolworth lunch counter.

Layla Saad is a writer, speaker, podcast host and racial justice advocate whose work explores the intersections of race, spirituality, feminism, and leadership. Part education, part activation, the Me And White Supremacy Workbook is a personal anti-racism tool for beginning to examine one’s own white privilege and role in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

Kenneth Jones’ and Tema Okun’s Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture tool, says Leadership Academy National Designer and Facilitator Verta Maloney, “helps us to understand these characteristics and offers antidotes to prevent/undo them.”

As some Americans hoped for a post-racial America after President Obama was elected, in Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi asserts that racism is very much alive and well, exploring the development and proliferation of racist ideas in this country.

White Spaces Missing Faces by Catrice Jackson identifies eight reasons why women of color don’t trust white women and offers candid commentary on what white women can do to earn and keep that trust.

Films/Short Videos

America to Me is a documentary series that “examines racial, economic and class issues in contemporary American education” as they follow the students and faculty of a Chicago-area high school.

Kimberlé Crenshaw explains the term “intersectionality” in this powerful TedTalk The Urgency of Intersectionality

Why “I’m Not Racist” Is Only Half the Story is a short video that breaks down some of Robin DiAngelo’s work around white fragility.

In Five Things You Should Know About Racism, Franchesca Ramsey provides useful definitions and examples we can all use.


Leadership Academy Chief Learning & Strategy Officer Michelle Jarney said How Well-Intentioned White Families Can Perpetuate Racism “continues to be something I think about and grapple with.”

Rachel Cargle shares how white women’s feminism can be more toxic than they realize in this Harper’s Bazaar article When White Feminism Is White Supremacy.


On One with Angela Rye is a weekly discussion of political, racial, and pop culture.

Revisionist History takes historical elements — an event, a person, or an idea — and then reinterprets them. “Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.”

In CodeSwitch, journalists of color break down issues of race and equity encountered in different areas of everyday life. A must listen.