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CSUF Faculty Member Awarded Grant to Combat Anti-Blackness in Education

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Brianna Harvey, assistant professor of sociology at Cal State Fullerton, was awarded a $34,341 grant for her project titled “Challenging Anti-Blackness in Education: Amplifying the Voices of Black Foster Youth Students Through Counter-Storytelling.” This project is a response to UC Berkeley’s “Research With the Transition-Age Youth Research and Evaluation Hub (TAY-Hub)” request for proposals, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for the California Child Welfare Indications Project initiative.

Harvey’s interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding how carceral systems perpetuate anti-Blackness through policies, practices and mechanisms of control, impacting the lives of Black youth and their families. Using community-rooted qualitative inquiry, she aims to combat oppression by creating liberating spaces. Her earlier research interrogates the collusive partnership between schools and the foster system, specifically highlighting the ways mandated reporting, exclusionary discipline policies and carceral practices impact the lived experiences of Black foster youth inside and outside of schools.

The current study aims to uplift the educational experiences of Black foster youth currently enrolled in a four-year public university. It employs a BlackCrit and Black Storywork framing to shed light on the tools and strategies of resistance used by this student community to subvert anti-Black policies and practices encountered during their primary schooling journeys. By employing focus groups, semi-structured interviews and art-based methods, this project strives to center Black foster youth collegians narratives of strength, liberation and resistance.

The research study has significant implications, offering insights into the educational experiences of Black foster youth and shedding light on the challenges they face within the K-12 system. By identifying tools and strategies to subvert anti-Black policies, the research can inform the development of more inclusive and supportive educational policies and practices, contributing to the broader conversation on social justice and equity. Understanding how these students navigate and overcome obstacles can inform efforts to create a more equitable educational environment for all students, addressing a notable gap in existing literature on the under-researched topic of the educational experiences of Black foster youth.

In addition to her current project, Harvey is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and UCLA’s Inaugural Fellowship for the Study of Black Life. She earned her Ph.D. in education from UCLA and her Master of Social Work degree from USC.

Alan Van Fleet