Open Windows, Open Minds
Developing Antiracist, Pro-Human Students
Foreword by Cornelius Minor and Kass Minor
“Afrika Afeni Mills’ book fills an important gap in the arena of diversity, equity and inclusion. Most books are focused on the needs of children of color, but she helps us understand why White students need to build their cultural competence if we are to truly have a society that is bias-free. If you’re a White educator or parent, this book will help you to let go of the things that no longer serve you, and to teach your students to embrace those things that will help create welcoming environments where all feel a sense of belonging.”
Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor
Equip your students—and yourself—to grapple with racial identity and crucial questions about race.
As antiracist educators, we strive to create learning environments where White-identifying students learn to shift from centering their own racial identity to recognizing the histories, perspectives, and experiences of others. How do we make that vision a reality?
In Open Windows, Open Minds, transformational educator Afrika Afeni Mills explores why racial identity work is crucial, especially for White-identifying students and teachers, and shows educators how to use literacy instruction to provide more windows to racial awareness, antiracist thinking, and pro-human action in the classroom. This roadmap for moving from intention to action includes:
- Exercises that push educators to examine their own racial identity before facilitating antiracism work with students
- Prompts that lead educators from deep thinking to instructional planning and implementation
- Developmentally appropriate teaching strategies for guiding students toward understanding racial identity and engaging in action-oriented learning
- Tools and resources for navigating challenges, finding allies, and creating partnerships
Engaging in anti-bias, antiracist work requires actively thinking, doing, and evolving. Open windows to racial identity and awareness in your students and help create a more inclusive and equitable society.
Afrika Afeni Mills’s book fills an important gap in the arena of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She helps us understand why White students need to build their cultural competence if we are to truly have a society that is bias-free. If you’re a White educator or parent, this book will help you to let go of the things that no longer serve you and to teach your students to embrace those things that will help create welcoming environments where all feel a sense of belonging.
Afrika Afeni Mills expertly offers just the right blend of reflective questions for increasing racial consciousness, with numerous resources, and asks us as White educators to heal ourselves so that we might provide a more accurate racial understanding for all of our students. Doing the exercises within this book is a must-do for any educator who wants to further the work of racial justice in schools.
In this book, White teachers have an answer. The work of being pro-human is hard and in some ways requires that teachers reinvent the wheel. Afrika Afeni Mills has done a fantastic job of laying out a process for these teachers to follow. From the prologue to the very end, there are nuggets of wisdom and powerful examples that offer concrete ideas. Considering the struggles our schools are facing and the needs White students have for ABAR learning, this is a timely and necessary book.
Afrika Afeni Mills’s Open Windows, Open Minds: Developing Antiracist, Pro-Human Students is a must-read for K–16+ educators who want not only to espouseantiracism practices but also to do the deep transformative work required for this within schools and communities in a way that orients us all toward freedom and liberation.
Afrika Afeni Mills’s work is, in short, exceptional. She guides her readers through some of the most important reflections that we can undertake, often with a clever approach that places our answers in conversation with other thoughtful educators around the country. Next, she guides us through practical strategies that not only are grounded in the early chapters’ reflective practices but also show us how to inspire students to start—or continue—their own journeys of rigorous reflection about their racial identities. I love how, when doing this, Mills never offers the empty generalities that we have become accustomed to in recent times. She instead embraces complexity and shows us how we can encourage our students to do the same. Open Windows, Open Minds is truly a must-read, in every sense of the phrase.
The key contribution of Open Windows, Open Minds is Afrika Afeni Mills’s ability to carefully, transformatively step readers—and especially White teachers—through our own knowing better so that we can do better supporting students’ abilities to know and do better.
Open Windows, Open Minds is a powerful and instructive guide for White educators who are striving to become more effective allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators. Afrika Afeni Mills offers a progression of reflection and action that will empower White educators to dismantle our internalized biases and prejudices and provide better learning opportunities for our students.
Open Windows, Open Minds isn’t simply a book you will read. It’s a brilliant book you will reread, mark up, keep near, talk about, and encourage others to read. It’s a critical text for anyone committed to living an antiracist life. It’s a book you will start reading for just ten minutes and then discover you have sat still with thoughts racing for an hour. It’s a how-to book that is also a why-you-must book.