Welcome to AAERO’s website!
Vision: AAERO envisions a nation in which all Americans have equal access to lifelong learning opportunities that enable them to make enlightened choices in the interest of their own quality of life, with respect for the interdependence of the community, the larger society, and the world.
Mission: Guided by our commitment to self-empowerment, the mission of AAERO is to conduct, compile and disseminate research that improves access of African Americans to education and information about teaching and learning.
- Education that fosters liberation and lifelong learning
- Listening to the voices of elders
- Mutually respectful cross-generational communication
- Tangible and intangible resource sharing
- Awareness of policies impacting racial equity
- Restorative relationships across the African Diaspora
Understanding Internalized Oppression
“When people are targeted, discriminated against, or oppressed over a period of time, they often internalize (believe and make part of their self-image – their internal view of themselves) the myths and misinformation that society communicates to them about their group.” (To learn more, see University of Kansas, Center for Community Health and Development, Community Tool Box, about internalized oppression).
Carter G. Woodson (1933) described the impact of internalized oppression:
When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit.
We focus on how African American people can help one another in two important ways: (1) dismantling internalized oppression, and (2) dismantling the distinctions that unfairly allocate advantages and disadvantages among African Americans.
Some of us have achieved a measure of “success” in spite of racism; most African Americans have not. Based on many indicators of well-being, African Americans have the least desirable circumstances. A critical attribute that creates relative advantage or disadvantage among African Americans is socioeconomic status. This term combines social class and economic status. “Socioeconomic status is the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation. Examinations of socioeconomic status often reveal inequities in access to resources, plus issues related to privilege, power and control” (American Psychological Association online).
We commit to the following goals in all that we do:
- Build relationships that bridge divisions among African Americans, specifically those based on social class, economic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability and/or age.
- Create information systems and facilitate access of African Americans to equitable opportunities to learn, develop skills, and create new ways of being and doing.
- Enable reciprocal growth, learning and support of African Americans in pursuit of opportunities to realize optimal quality of life in equitable, just communities.
- Replace systems that unfairly allocate benefits and costs among African Americans with equitable means of access to opportunities.
We invite participation in the following relationships:
AAERO Associates – individuals who volunteer to do the work that furthers the AAERO mission. This can include retired educators and young adults. College students may earn community service credit or internship course credit from their university.
AAERO Anchors – sustaining supporters (individuals, corporations, or organizations) that make financial contributions that ensure the viability of AAERO. AAERO Anchors help us raise funds from major donors, and facilitate contact with giving circles and foundations. Planned giving arrangements, and pledges are welcome.
AAERO Affiliates – organizations whose mission and goals are compatible with those of AAERO and partner with AAERO to support our shared interests (for example, the Institute for Social Awareness – Fayetteville). AAERO Affiliates commit to reciprocal support of each group’s programs in specific ways, including dissemination of information about events. We may collaborate on projects, including public events, newsletters, publications and blogs. Our leaders exchange information and perspectives on issues of importance to African Americans.
WHAT WE DO
- Recommend sources of information in audiovisual and printed forms that contribute to knowledge and understanding of African American education history, contemporary issues, and alternatives for self-directed learning. Acknowledging the prevalence of audiovisual media, particularly accessible on the Internet, this reference list will include materials in print, video, and other forms.
- Preserve documents and oral narratives of African American education history, as in “Conversations with Treasures of Our Heritage,” “Somebody Had to Do It,” and the Grand People Project
- Serve as fiscal sponsor for groups and individuals who are doing work that furthers the AAERO mission without 501(c)(3) tax exempt status (For example, Parents of African American Children-Durham, Ereba Iriona, Celebrating Our Voices-Black Children’s Book Festival & Symposium, National Society of African American Culture & History, Democratizing Knowledge Writing Workshop)
- Collaborate with and/or support others to increase opportunities for informal education, self-directed learning, peer-support, mentoring, and innovation that improves African American quality of life
Financial contributions to AAERO will be used
- to pay students for internships (e.g., summer 2-months $3,000 for college students);
- for graduation gifts ($50 – $100 checks) to students who have volunteered with AAERO;
- for designated Memorial Awards to high school graduates or others specified in the awards;
- to pay operating costs for a bookkeeper, volunteer coordinator, website, and video conferencing; and
- for special projects for which we serve as fiscal sponsor, if designated by donors.
Donors may designate how their contributions are to be used, and may access financial reports.
Your contribution to AAERO will help fund internships for college students!