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#ReclaimSEL Webinar Series

Webinar 2: Transforming Social-Emotional Learning through Healing and Restorative Justice


In this webinar, we will unpack the section of the radical report (“radport”) Reclaim Social-Emotional Learning: Centering Organizing Praxis for Holistically Safe Schools that highlights how culturally-affirming SEL is centered in healing justice and emotional justice to transform schools to truly be holistically safe spaces. 


Overwhelmingly, our nation’s public schools are not containers in which true SEL can happen. Too many are plagued by police violence, metal detectors, digital surveillance, the residues of transphobic and “patriotic” legislation, and a lack of meaningful professional development for educators and administrators. If states and districts are stifling critical consciousness-building, spirit-murdering Black and Brown young people through whitewashed curricula, and criminalizing young people for their very existence, SEL cannot happen. If SEL does not uplift school transformation, it instead forces young people to conform to white supremacist structures that deny their humanity.  


True SEL is about understanding our relationships with ourselves and with others. It’s to know ourselves as holistic human beings. It's to see the humanity in others to fight, together, for the world we deserve -- rooted in love and justice. In order to understand our emotions, deepen our relationships, and heal from individual and collective traumas, schools must move away from control and management tactics to restorative and transformative practices. 

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  • Tanisha "Wakumi" Douglas, Co-founder & Executive Director, S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective 

  • Nyoka Acevedo, Program Officer, Andrus Family Fund 

  • Dwanna Nicole, Executive Director, Restorative Justice Partnership

  • Jenny Arwade, Representative, Communities United

  • Thalia Gonzalez, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty & Inequality 

Webinar 1: The Intersections Between Social-emotional Learning and Education Justice: Movement Towards Holistically Safe Schools


Building on the work that CJSF and partners have engaged in to reclaim social-emotional learning from the harmful tactics of control and management and instead move towards holistic safety, this webinar will kick off the #ReclaimSEL webinar series.  

The work to reclaim SEL from the ways it has been weaponized against Black and Brown and LGBTQ+ youth of color, in particular, run parallel to demands and campaigns around positive school climate that organizers in the education justice movement have been advancing for years. This webinar will center organizer demands that redefine safety in terms of the holistic social and emotional well-being of young people, educators, families, and communities. This first webinar of the series will be in alignment with Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action to lift up how the 13 guiding principles and 4 demands are a powerful example of organizing praxis as SEL in motion. 

While curriculum and pedagogy, school climate and safety, and social-emotional learning often are regarded as separate initiatives and areas of focus, this webinar will highlight the need to connect these areas to truly transform schools to be spaces rooted in justice, joy, and liberation. 

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More About the Series

There have been many conversations across sectors to reimagine education amid a global pandemic, continued racial injustice, and a climate crisis — many of these conversations center SEL as a tool for healing. However, we’ve seen how well-meaning SEL initiatives, policies, and practices have been weaponized against young people, specifically Black and Brown and LGBTQ+ youth of color, as mechanisms of control and policing. The narrative has been that to exhibit or practice SEL, young people must control and manage their emotions, and in turn, stifle their most authentic selves. This harmful framing is further exacerbated by the physical policing of students through harsh disciplinary practices and policies. Together, SEL, school climate, and school safety are used as means to criminalize and punish Black and Brown and LGBTQ+ youth of color, rather than create and sustain schools as spaces that are emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and physically safe. For SEL to live up to its true promise, there must be a container for SEL, meaning that school climate, safety, and SEL must be connected in intentional and holistic ways. Through the #ReclaimSEL series, we will bring together multiple education stakeholders to explore how to reclaim SEL from its use as a metric of compliance. Instead, the conversations will connect SEL to positive school climate and school safety policies and practices that use relationship-building as their foundation. This series will also uplift and amplify the power of strategic organizing praxis as a model for radical SEL.

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