The Roots of Equity and Transformation: Presenting the Mission, Vision, and Values of NYU Metro Center

By Paloma Garcia

Following a two-year process, the team at NYU Metro Center revised its mission and vision and solidified five core values to guide its work. The revisions were not made by a few people within the organization, but rather engaged the entire NYU Metro Center family—16 units made up of close to 100 individuals—in an organic process of creation, ideation, and spiritual reflection to articulate who we are and what we stand for.

We thank the NYU Metro Center Family for pouring soul on page, using language to build bricks upon which we might stand, creating a strong foundation for our collective efforts to advance equity in education and beyond.

Mission. We advance equity and excellence in education, connecting to legacies of justice work through critical inquiry and research, professional development and technical assistance, community action and collaboration.

Reflection. Critical inquiry and research, professional development and technical assistance, community action and collaboration are all indispensable components of our work. We do not take a one-solution-fixes-all approach to educational equity. Rather, we understand that education cannot be transformed without engaging each of these components as well as past and present justice work.

Vision. We commit to social justice and the amplification of youth and parent/community voice, meaningful dialogue and interaction to honor and respect all people.

Reflection. We see experts in experience and organize to build with these experts not for.

Community. NYU Metro Center embraces the concept of the collective–“out of many one”–we are better and more together than we are alone, that those most impacted by policies and practices should be part of designing those policies and practices.

Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM) • “I am because we are” (Ubuntu) • Solidarity • Reciprocity • Every Student

Reflection. Said best by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Integrity. Strong moral principles that adhere to a code of the highest virtues of sound and incorruptible human character ground NYU Metro Center

Honesty • Excellence • Probity • Rectitude • Honor • Decency • Trustworthiness

Reflection. The prerequisite to genuine equity work is integrity, honesty, and truth. We step up to the call.

Connection. Radical and unyielding understanding for those who face barriers in their community, while working in partnership to build a more embracing world, guides NYU Metro Center.

Thick Love • Hope • Humanity • Belonging • Radical Imagination

Reflection. Thick love is a love that is broad and deep and is the key to genuine connection. Connection allows for a common humanity where acceptance and understanding are possible.

Service. NYU Metro Center Pledges to contribute to the benefit of others–especially vulnerable people–to assist in the ongoing campaigns for justice, social transformation, and extended opportunities.

Advocacy • Urgency • Action-Oriented • Praxis

Reflection. Equity and transformation must live within and beyond the four walls of an academic institution. Through service, we are able to work alongside communities most affected by inequity.

Liberation. NYU Metro Center embodies and advances the principles of a free society, untethered from oppressive restrictions imposed on the goals of self-determination, independence, autonomy, and sovereignty for vulnerable people.

Freedom and Fairness • Equity and Justice • Tolerance • Respect • Empowerment

Reflection. The ultimate goal is to realize schools and a society free of the -isms that disturb opportunity, community, and understanding.

NYU Metro Center moves forward strengthened and focused by our mission, vision, and values. We encourage you, our partners, to build with us and stay up-to-date with all that is NYU Metro Center.

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Paloma Garcia is NYU Metro Center’s Director of Communications. In this role, Paloma provides leadership to a collaborative effort with fellow directors to create a tailored and strategic communication plan to strengthen and expand public awareness of the Center’s 14 centers, programs, and projects and the contributions they make in the world of educational equity and school change.