We Refuse to Lose

We Refuse to Lose: Tacoma Spotlight

The We Refuse to Lose series explores what cradle-to-career initiatives across the country are doing to improve outcomes for students of color and those experiencing poverty. The series profiles five communities—Buffalo, Chattanooga, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley and Tacoma—that are working to close racial gaps for students journeying from early education to careers. A majority of these students come from populations that have been historically oppressed and marginalized through poorly resourced schools, employment, housing and loan discrimination, police violence, a disproportionate criminal justice system and harsh immigration policies.

The Tacoma profile explores the connection between the city’s history of systemic racism such as redlining and the inequities that exist in South and East Tacoma, where Graduate Tacoma focuses its activities. As Executive Director Tafona Ervin says in her introduction to the profile, Graduate Tacoma, “is pushing back against systemic oppression and giving life to the true meaning of racial and social justice.” This movement has led to strong results including public school district graduation rates for Black students that equal the rates for white students and a renewed commitment to postsecondary completion.

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