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Washington State University
College of Education

February 2020

Removing barriers at WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver honors Martin Luther King Jr. through social justice workshops

By: Hannah Schneider – College of Education

On MLK Day, the At Home At School (AHAS) program hosted a teach-in on the WSU Vancouver campus. The focus was to on honor Martin Luther King Jr. by envisioning a future where the needs of an increasingly diverse society are met.

A series of workshops were scheduled throughout the day. They covered topics of poverty and homelessness, mental health, race and racism, and indigenous educational policy among many other social justice topics.

“Our purpose was to provide a format for discussion and to inspire action among individuals and organizations that aspire to remove equity barriers in education and other social systems,” AHAS Director, Susan Finley said.

Participants included representatives of many social service organizations, educators from local K-12 public schools, faculty and staff from Clark College, WSU Vancouver, Portland State University, and even from Southern Illinois University. In total the event had over 100 attendees.

AHAS has a Youth Activism Board made up of students from Clark College and WSU Vancouver along with students from local high schools. These students were major contributors to the conversations that took place during the event.

AHAS is hoping to achieve a similar impact as other related groups. They continue to grow a relationship with the Climate Crisis Breakout group, said Finley.

They currently do not have any specific plans for other events however, they are still working on their effort to create and encourage positive social change.


Established in 2002 on principles of empowerment and democratic education, AHAS is breaking down barriers in education on multiple fronts.

AHAS has three goals which consist of helping children overcome social and economic barriers, shaping the next generation of teachers to work with underprivileged children, and creating an environment where teachers can design projects and curriculum for students.

Nora Coker reports on the climate crisis during a breakout session.

There are many components within AHAS. From organizing volunteers in shelters to tutoring children during the academic year, they are focused on helping students reach their full potential.

“In the long term, we are revisioning our purpose to support the continuation of these conversations and to facilitate activism among our current and future participants,” Finley said.


Keep up on AHAS by following their Instagram: @ahas2020andbeyond

Learn more about AHAS at: