April Warren-Grice is the founder and CEO of the education consulting company Liberated Genius LLC. Additionally, she is serving as a Dean’s Equity Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Her responses below have been edited for length and clarity.
Why did you join the PittEd Justice Collective?
"Dean Kinloch invited me to be part of the PittEd Justice Collective. It was very easy 'yes' for me, because when I first saw the work taking place, I knew I wanted to be a part of a team that was actively engaged in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives. This is my work, and I believe that teamwork makes the dream work."
What is your role as the Dean’s Equity Scholar?
"I support Dean Kinloch’s efforts to operationalize and create structures to support educational equity, justice, and transformative research."
What projects are you working on now?
"Currently, we are working on a project called The Future of Black Education. We are bringing together a team of educators and researchers within PK-12 and higher education contexts to explore ways to think about and make recommendations for Black education. This national advisory group, referred to as Black Educators’ National Advisory Council, will propose practices, pedagogies, and policies that could positively impact the educational trajectories of Black children, families, and communities. We will focus on eradicating inequitable structures and proposing specific recommendations to improve Black students’ academic and nonacademic outcomes."
Tell us about your company Liberated Genius.
"Liberated Genius works with schools, districts, and institutions of higher education to operationalize equity, justice and wellness. Our unique value-add is that we believe that wellness is justice, and we ask, “how much more powerful could we be if we were really well?” With that in mind, we help organizations to operationalize equity, justice, and wellness to create transformative systems that help Black and Brown students reach their highest potential.
"I created Liberated Genius to help organizations start from the premise that Black and Brown students are geniuses. We focus on the quality of the educational process that supports helping them reach their highest potential."
What did you gain from your experience with the Shifting Power in Educational Research and Development initiative?
"The Shifting Power initiative was an amazing opportunity to connect with others who also like to bridge theory and practice. I had the pleasure of working with equity practitioner, Sister IAsia Thomas (Sister I). We explored how educational equity conversations in schools and districts often operate on a Black-and-white racial binary, and generally leave out the culture of African migrant girls. As a result, we suggested the use of Afrocentric Education as a solution to the limits of equity.
"Together we created a documentary on her program, The Promise of Sisterhood, an initiative for African migrant girls and African American girl students. We also co-wrote an autoethnography we hope to publish titled, “'Witness the Reframe of Educational Equity: The Case for Afrocentric Education (ACE).'”
"Through our collaboration, we also experienced a shift in power in our working relationship, which made our case for Afrocentric education even more powerful. Our work became a shared sense of power. In our article Sister I sums this up when she states, “What the shift of power is about is that sometimes I'm holding you, and sometimes you're holding me, but the majority of the time, we're holding each other."
Visit the PittEd Justice Collective website for updates and to submit your information to join the group's mailing list.