Pittsburgh Gets Real

Guide to addressing diversity created by local students going to schools across the country

WEXFORD, Pa. — A guide to addressing diversity is going to school districts all across the country, and it was developed by a group of students here in the Pittsburgh area.

Jaime Martinez and Lucia Bautista are two of the founders of NA For Change, who talked to Channel 11 about their initiative — to make sure racism doesn’t exist in the North Allegheny School District.

The group has been vocal on social media and at school board meetings.

One of the things they’re most proud of is their 20-some page homemade handbook.

The title of the handbook is called “Anti-Racists' Declassified School Survival Guide and How To Start a Homegrown Movement and Improve Your School District for All Students.”

“Knowing that we are playing a small part in advancing this conversation, not just in the community, but at the state level, city level, and national level. Doing our small part means a lot to us,” Martinez said.

Because of the group’s strong presence on social media, they have received attention from other similar local organizations.

We are getting real about the important issues in our communities – from racism to housing and healthcare inequities to policing reforms. We bring you stories that tackle the tough issues and give a voice to the often marginalized voices in our city.

“We saw a lot of groups reaching out to us and a lot of students from around the Pittsburgh area. They said ‘hey, can we talk to you? how is your strategy playing out? Where did you get this information?’”

Then, the questions started coming from across the country. So far, a school in Georgia and Alaska have reached out wanting to know more about their processes. That’s when NA For Change took action and compiled their ideas into a handbook.

Lucia is the brains behind the guidebook.

“It means a lot especially because this was born out of students coming together and realizing that we had a lot of similar grievances, and we didn’t know how to start and go about this or logistics,” Bautista said.

The handbook is very organized. There are a number of bullet points, different topics and even specific examples throughout. The group says organization is key to get their point across.

“The school is organized. We need to be organized as well if we want to be taken seriously. If we want to be able to have organized research, demands, and that can be realistically implemented, we have to be organized,” Bautista said.

They’re hoping their efforts will make a difference.

“Fifty years from now when we are looking back, we are able to say we are here because of our efforts. We may not have been the ones marching on Washington at the Lincoln memorial, or giving a crazy speech, but we did our part and that’s what counts,” Martinez said.

Tell us about the important issues in your community that you’d like us to cover or a person who you believe we should feature. Emails us at pittsburghgetsreal@wpxi.com

Comments on this article