As Black moms, we know the importance of being an advocate for your child. To be sure your child is getting the best educational opportunities and resources, parents must be relentless in their efforts to develop strong relationships with their child’s teachers, principals, and counselors. In both of our experiences, we have had to advocate for our sons time and time again to ensure they had access to the best educators, and rigorous and relevant coursework. And we have both had to push back against teachers and school leaders who wanted to place our sons in special education incorrectly.

We have won battles for our children. But too often, parents are left to navigate the system on their own, without support. It can be frustrating, tiring, and isolating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At Ed Trust, we know that students’ parents and families are critical partners in the fight for educational justice. We understand parents and families are advocating on behalf of their children every day, but are often made to feel invisible by an overwhelming, complicated, bureaucratic system. That’s why Ed Trust founded the Family Fellowship.

Through the fellowship, Ed Trust brings together parent and family advocates who are committed to taking collective action to make systemic changes in their school systems. Here, 29 parent and family members from four different states — Kentucky, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina — are learning how to advocate not just for their children, but for their community. Over the next eight months, Ed Trust will prepare advocates to participate in policy conversations and equip them with the advocacy tools they need to fully engage in the decision-making process in their communities and districts.

This year’s cohort of fellows includes parents and family members who — like us — became involved in education advocacy to better serve their own kids, but recognized the need for change at a larger level. These fellows represent community organization board members, PTA presidents, educators, and social justice advocates. As a participant in the program, fellows will have the opportunity to join forces with civil rights, business, and community leaders in their state who have also committed to the fight for education equity.

Check out our web page, where you can learn more about all the fellows participating in the program, and see what they are learning.