Why we need Critical Race Theory: moving toward Critical Race Praxis in P-20 education

Asif Wilson, Erica Dávila, Valentina Gamboa-Turner, Anänka Shony, David Stovall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In this paper the co-authors, educators and organizers working together in a liberatory curriculum development organization (People's Education Movement Chicago), put forth a conceptualization of Critical Race Praxis (CRP) in education as it applies to K-12 curriculum and education writ large. They take Yamamoto's (1997) premise seriously in that they need to spend less time with abstract theorizing and more time in communities experiencing injustice. Design/methodology/approach: The co-authors utilize critical race counterstory methodologies to analyze and (re)tell their experiences building and supporting justice-centered curriculum bound in CRP. In doing so, they share narratives that illuminate their individual and collective experiences navigating the gratuitous violence of white supremacy and other forms of structural oppression, and their work to center justice in and out of K-12 schools. Findings: The findings provide examples of organizational praxes within the tenets of CRP (Conceptual, Material, Performative and Reflexive). For People’s Education Movement Chicago the conceptual conditions of their praxes begin with an intersectional analysis of schooling, education, and life. Within the CRP tenant of the material, the co-authors share experiences that detail their continuous political education and offer seven emergent ways of being and building to bound the material change they seek to create through their work. Next, the co-authors share their insights on the performative tenet, with a focus on curriculum, which creates learning experiences that support people to remember social movements and develop within them the curiosity and agency to act on their findings in ways that center justice and transformation. Finally, the findings related to reflexivity focus on the authors’ internal practices as a collective. The authors place process over product which, as they articulate, is a must if they are to produce a vital harvest for communities they work with and for. Research limitations/practical/social implications: The authors conclude the article with the following offerings useful to P-20 educators, researchers, school administrators and community members advancing more just educational futures: a commitment to the on the groundwork, situating social justice as an experiential phenomenon, the utilization of interdisciplinary approaches, collaborative work and capacity building, and a commitment to self and collective care. Originality/value: As P-20 teachers, community workers, organizers, caregivers and education scholars of color building together in a K-12 curriculum development organization, the authors suggest that now is the moment to pivot away from the rhetoric of “we don't do CRT” and into work that constructs paths toward praxes bound in the tenets of CRP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-424
Number of pages15
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 2024


  • Critical race praxis
  • Critical race theory
  • Curriculum
  • Justice-centered education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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