Students for Educational Justice (SEJ) is a youth-led, intergenerational organizing body that drives efforts for racial and educational justice. Student members are the heart of SEJ and lead our work.
We envision a just education system and an equitable society in which all people understand the history of race in the United States, and are actively committed to dismantling systemic racism and other forms of oppression.
We seek to transform educational systems that perpetuate institutionalized, interpersonal, and internalized racism and anti-Blackness.
SEJ’s formation began in May 2016, when Hillary Bridges founded Telling Our Story (now Black Heritage Academy). Black Heritage Academy creates spaces for young Black people to come together to share their untold American stories, both of continued oppression and tremendous achievement. By May of 2017 the BHA team added an organizing body to their work, Students for Educational Justice (SEJ). SEJ was create in direct response to New Haven’s young people calling for more Black and Latinx history in their classrooms. We know that organizing efforts are best led by those most directly affected by the issue and therefore shaped SEJ around youth civic engagement and political education programs. Since then we have hosted high school students from in and around New Haven every Thursday for political education and organizing trainings.
With the guidance and insight of our Co-Founder and Deputy Director Briyana, we continually work to dismantle the adult-centered systems of oppression within our organization. By continually reflecting on our own age-based biases and prejudices we can better recognize and fight adultism as an organization. This is why we established our youth-led, intergenerational SEJ Leadership Team, the primary steering committee for our work. This evolution was only possible because the young people on our team saw and continue to see themselves as leaders with legitimate input, opinions, and power to act. In 2021 we continue to build youth power, strengthen student leadership, support positive racial identity development in BIPOC students, and organize to transform our educational system and our wider society.