Equity, Equality, and the Year of Transformation

by | Jun 25, 2020 | Insider

As of this writing, Massachusetts is in its eighth week of lockdown. 8 weeks that have transformed the way we work and communicate as a team and with our families.

At Inversant and across Hildreth organizations, our work is about change. We foster near-term and long-term change. 

We aim to expand opportunities for individual families, and outward to whole communities. We speak of learning the rules to master the rules. We also point out where and how rules are inequitable. 

We advocate for better, more inclusive, systems, and practices. This has been our work from the beginning and will continue to be our mission.

During this time, we’ve faced unexpected challenges. We’ve also seen incredible victories. As an organization, we’re focused and energized by those wins as it spurs our momentum. 

We’re also committed more than ever to equity and equality. Our work is breaking down barriers and opening doors. Below we share how this is happening and how we’re addressing our current environment.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

We continue to adapt our services to respond to the evolving needs of our Inversant families. At the same time, we hold space for the pain, anger, and grief our team and communities are experiencing.

The dual pandemics of Coronavirus and racism weigh heavily on us. Last week, we shared a collective response with our audiences.

We know how difficult this year has been.

We’ve lost family and friends. Spouses and parents have lost jobs. We’ve missed celebrating rites of passage in traditional ways.

In graduations and funerals, we see the effect absence of physical presence has had. It’s strange and unsatisfying.

Added to this grief are anger and despair. We rail against the murders and threats to the life of black men and women across the country.

In our work at Inversant, we work to dismantle structural barriers. These barriers impede communities of color from achieving educational equity.

PROGRAM UPDATES

When the pandemic closed the city, we adopted new ways to listen, learn, and deliver what our families need.

We called all currently-enrolled families and those from previous years. How were they doing? Were they safe? How could we help?

Listening to them confirmed what we knew so many were feeling. Confusion, stress, and overwhelm. They had questions and few answers.

Those with college children shared confusion over student loan repayment. What were their relief options under the CARES Act? Did they qualify? How would they request relief? Where should they even begin?

“What we know is that people know very little about their loans. They don’t understand what sort of loans they have. They’re assuming that schools aren’t going to screw them up. They believe that everything will eventually get sorted out.”

Yiming Shuang, Inversant COO

Meanwhile, Hildreth Institute (HI) drew attention to how the pandemic and the government’s response have exacerbated private student loan holders’ financial vulnerability.

COVID-19 and Student Loans: Everything You Need to Know

Our sister organization, Hildreth Institute, has completed a report on private student loans and how #COVID19 has exposed their riskiness.Listen in as Ariana O'Rourke, Communications Associate at Inversant discusses private vs. public loans and how two of her college classmates from Wheaton College have navigated the pandemic and its effect on their loans. Read the complete report: https://hildrethinstitute.org/private-student-loans/

Posted by Inversant on Saturday, May 23, 2020

To both organizations, this signaled an opportunity. Inversant and Hildreth are now collaborating on a first-ever digital workshop for the college students in our network.

“This is the perfect situation for a financial learning moment. We must help our college alumni sort out their college finance options. We haven’t done this before because we prioritized teaching high school families. Even though we had loan workshops, we gave a very general overview of the process. It was never applied to students and their personal situations.”

Yiming Shuang, Inversant COO

This digital workshop will join the small but growing catalog of learning opportunities our Programs team is producing for parents and students.

ADVANCEMENT UPDATES

The public health crisis canceled in-person graduation ceremonies. But that didn’t stop us! We’re celebrating our newest class of Inversant alumni, the graduates of 2020.

We’ve organized a series of virtual pizza parties in June and July. Yesterday kicked off our first graduation in Boston. Altogether, we’ll celebrate 159 families of the 164 graduating high school seniors.

Time, date, and location for each is 5-7 pm:

  • Boston – Monday, June 22, 2020
  • Revere – Tuesday, June 23, 2020
  • Chelsea – Wednesday, June 24, 2020
  • Salem Outer Harbor – Thursday, June 25, 2020:
  • Salem Inner Harbor – Friday, June 26, 2020:
  • East Lynn – Monday, June 29, 2020
  • Central Lynn – Tuesday, June 29, 2020
  • West Lynn – Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We still need your help. Sponsor a family’s graduation ceremony and pizza party!

BOARD UPDATES

On June 10, 2020, the Board met to discuss the future vision of Inversant.

Inversant has embarked on the journey to transform from a founder driven organization to a self-sustaining community-driven one.

This touches on all aspects of inversant and is a process that happens through collaboration with many stakeholders. It also happens through a series of conversations.

Our board meeting was an open discussion designed to:

  • Offer insight and dialogue around our mission
  • Gain a sense of interest and awareness about our future
  • Clarify perceptions and gather data points on the momentum

The core of our focus is now on 4 “Ps” – Inversant’s

  • Programs
  • Priorities
  • Populations
  • Partnerships

We are thankful for the Board and their continued guidance as we work through this process.

YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT

Like you, our understanding of what to expect this summer and fall is constantly evolving.

States, cities, and educational institutions are considering many factors. As we enter Stage Two of reopening the state, we still have very few answers.

Our team is working hard to adapt to the changing situations and what they mean for the families we serve. While we test and refine services and delivery methods, we remain committed to our mission.

Thank you for standing with us. We need you more than ever.

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