Ronda Bullock: Led to do more
Story and video by Melanie Busbee
Camp footage by Finn Loendorf
Conference photos by Ariel Perry Photography
As a former high school English teacher, UNC-Chapel Hill Ph.D candidate Ronda Taylor Bullock often felt insufficient. Hundreds of students were coming to high school struggling to read, and she felt ill equipped to tackle what she began to see as a social justice issue.
Bullock felt heartbroken and guilty.
That guilt was only intensified by the racial bias she experienced – and saw projected on others – from fellow teachers on a daily basis.
“Racism is still real,” Bullock said. “What is my role in this? How can I be effective at educating people to be more thoughtful, to check systems and to check our own biases?”
She left teaching to study Policy, Leadership and School Improvement in UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Education. As a Ph.D candidate passionate about social justice, Bullock felt led to do more and began pouring ideas on paper.
From those ideas Bullock created the organization we are (Working to Extend Anti-Racist Education).
“We are is addressing both systemic and ideological racism particularly in youth, parents and educators with the hope of providing anti-racist education in a more equitable society,” Bullock said.
A CUBE social innovation grant helped launch inaugural we are events such as an educator conference and a children’s summer camp.
Bullock credits much of the organization’s success to her team, comprised of educators, Ph.D students and a UNC-Chapel Hill employee.