"My leadership style puts race and equity issues at the forefront while working toward community empowerment, preparing community members to ride the tide of life, seeing every challenge as an opportunity to connect with their inner gifts and to grow as human beings." - SBN
According to Browne (2008), the goal of culturally courageous leadership is to build equitable, cultural learning environments. Therefore, to model this leadership style is to:
1) Engage in community organizing,
2) Nurture African identities,
3) Be an ardent advocate,
4) Reflect, document and assess,
5) Know and use work and communication styles to influence the dynamics of difference amongst constituents,
6) Practice situational leadership and use your insight on identity constructs and,
7) Practice the 5 C’s: a) Committed caregiver – model positivity towards Black youth, b) Culturally competent consumer – always access information about culture and heritage of African/African American culture, c) Consummate conciliator – adapt to the needs of Black learners and work through any conflicts that may occur, d) conscientious coach – assess personal as well as student and teacher needs and facilitate critical reflection/growth of others via the use of key questions, and e) courageous change maker – facilitate embracing of/adaptation to change, model and insist on accountability for improvement in African American student outcomes.
Arts and media education after school and in non-traditional (informal) educational environments, in the more underserved communities of Los Angeles, are the arenas in which I thrive and construct collaborative and emotionally safe spaces for the implementation of culturally courageous leadership work. As an artist and educator, it is more effective to reach and engage staff, youth and community members around a vision for their empowerment and to aid them in discovering their innate abilities to "live in the questions" of life (as my old boss, Jonathan Zeichner, would say), when poetry, music, video, movement, acting, storytelling, creative writing, etc., exist as tools for instruction.
Crafting creative environments for teachable moments, self-reflection, cultural affirmation and professional development have become normalized under my leadership, cultivating hope and strength, from within.