This important book helps school leaders let go of a "comfortable" mindset and enter a world of courageous conversations that examine and challenge the impact of racism and other forms of oppression on disciplinary patterns, instructional practices, and school policies. Authors Hunsberger, Mayo, and Neal prepare you to address these difficult issues though authentic, critical discourse. The book includes classroom activities and facilitation tips to help prompt systematic changes in schools through improving instruction, supporting inclusiveness, and strengthening student engagement.

After reading Becoming a Social Justice Leader you’ll be able to:

  • Design conversations that support participant engagement and create a safe environment for discussion.
  • Explore personal dispositions, attitudes, and stances that contribute to systemic oppression.
  • Understand how oppression is established and sustained in order to enact change.
  • Create alliances within school settings to foster dialogue and combat oppression.

Additional worksheets that help educators examine and expand their work as social justice leaders are also available for download (https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138957749).





Chapter 1 Before you Begin

The Fabric of Oppression


No Experts

Suspend Certainty

No Blame, Shame, and Guilt

Chapter 2 Designing Conversations

Attribute of Design: Balance

Attribute of Design: Conditions for the Conversation

Attribute of Design: Definitions

Attribute of Design: Reflection as Pedagogy

Attribute of Design: Space

Chapter 3 A Conversation of the Heart

Entering the Conversation

Listening Pairs

Cycle of Socialization

Things I Heard and Learned

Continuing Reflections

Chapter 4 A Conversation of the Head

Entering the Conversation

Table of Oppression

The Legs of the Dominant Group


Fish Bowl

The Legs of the Oppressed

Continuing Conversations

Final Comment: Transference

Chapter 5 A Conversation of the Hand

Entering the Conversation

In the Classroom

In the School

In the System

Further Conversations

Chapter 6 Allies: We Can’t do this Alone

Past Experiences





Reflections upon Allies


Chapter 7 Lessons Learned

No Experts, Just More Experiences

Keeping Folks in the Conversation

It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes…

Keeping White Voices in the Conversation

Final Thoughts