Statement to our Membership

In the past year, ACT Now has written to its members to address issues of racism, discrimination,
violence, and police brutality. As an organization that acts as a voice for afterschool in Illinois, we
feel it is our responsibility to continue to make our stance on these issues known, to hold space
for those members and communities most affected, and to encourage action.

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin is a step towards accountability for the police brutality
that has affected communities throughout the country for hundreds of years. However, we are
also still processing and mourning the death of Daunte Wright, the death of Adam Toledo (aged
13), the death of Jaslyn Adams (aged 7), the death of Ma’Khia Bryant (aged 16), mass shootings
in numerous cities across the country and the fact that we have endemic issues of racial equity
and violence in our society, which stop our children from realizing their potential. Black Lives
Matter. We need police reform. Our policymakers must take swift action to address gun
violence in our country.

ACT Now is proud of the programs with whom we work and the programming they run that
serves diverse populations throughout the state. We must continue to serve our youth with a
focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and examine these competencies in our own
organizations and in ourselves as individuals. We encourage you to use your voice and speak
the names of the people who have lost their lives due to racism, gun violence, and police

We are actively working on strategies to assist programs in their antiracism work and look
forward to sharing that work with you in the future. In the meantime, please reach out to us
with any thoughts, resources, or perspectives you would like to share with us.

In Solidarity,

ACT Now Coalition

Archive of Our Statements

Resources on Anti-Racism and Equity

At ACT Now, our vision has always been for ALL Illinois youth and teens to be prepared for success in school, career, and life, fostered through access to high-quality afterschool and summer programs. Please see our note in our newsletter on racial violence. We will continue to share resources related to this issue as listed below.

If you would like to discuss your program’s reaction to racial violence or share additional resources, please reach out to Susan Stanton at

Black History Month Resources

To access resources relating to teaching about Black History, click here.

Anti-AAPI Hate Resources

ShareMyLesson has compiled a variety of resources on celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage for afterschool providers to incorporate into programming. There are videos, lesson plans, and strategies for hosting deep conversations relating to historical racism in the United States. To access these resources, click here.

Anti Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate Resources

ACT Now has compiled a list of resources on Anti-AAPI hate and violence. We will continue to share resources with our membership.

The TEAACH Act – Public Act 201-0044

The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act amends the Illinois School Code to ensure that students in every public elementary and high school in Illinois learn about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) created a one-page document and supplemental educational resources to assist educators in providing instruction on Asian American history.

AAPI Heritage Month Resources

Join ACT Now and our coalition partners in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month)! We have compiled several resources to teach about the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have been instrumental in America’s history and future success.

Resources for Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has compiled 12 high-quality and equity-centered resources for celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month. These resources may also be leveraged throughout the year!

LGTBQ Pride Resources

ShareMyLesson: Resources for Celebrating Pride Month

ShareMyLesson has organized and developed free lesson plans, activities, and resources for providers to utilize in supporting and celebrating LGBTQ students and inspire meaningful advocacy.

Afterschool Alliance Article: 5 Things You Can Do Today to Support LGBTQ Youth

This year alone more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in states across the country, many of which directly affect young people. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance report showing that LGBTQ students are more likely to be bullied than their straight, cisgender classmates. In response, the Afterschool Alliance has written an article with five strategies for supporting LGBTQ youth in out-of-school time environments.

Resources for Celebrating LGBTQ History Month

ShareMyLesson has compiled a variety of resources for providers and educators to use in celebrating LGBTQ History Month and elevating the contributions of this diverse community throughout the year as well.

Supporting LGBTQIA Youth Amidst the Pandemic

EducationWeek has shared an article on several topics LGBTQIA students are worrying about during the pandemic. This article could help to focus support services to youth that are part of this diverse community throughout programming.

Anti-Discrimination Resources for Program Providers

Nickelodeon has developed anti-discrimination resources for program providers, families, and youth to encourage these populations to take action and combat racism and LGBTQIA discrimination. The guides allow for tough conversations and help individuals create a safe space for discussing these topics.

Resources for Supporting LGBTQIA Colleagues in the Workplace
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has compiled several resources for organizations and afterschool professionals to utilize for ensuring supportive workplace environments for LGBTQIA colleagues.

Value Based commitments to support LGBTQ+ youth

With the high levels of bullying in LGBTQ+ youth and the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, The Afterschool Alliance released a list of seven commitments for both formal and informal educators to use to support LGBTQ+ youth.

How Educators Can Support LGBTQIA Youth

Chlakbeat National published an article on how formal and informal educators can work to affirm, support, and uplift LGBTQIA youth in programming. These suggestions and resources were submitted on behalf of Chalkbeat’s reader membership.


Understanding Juneteenth Resources

Resources for Understanding and Teaching Youth About Juneteenth

First celebrated on June 19, 1866, Juneteenth marks the day that African Americans living in Texas first learned that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished. Though the holiday has existed for 155 years, both as a day or remembrance and celebration, very few students learn about Juneteenth in school. To learn more about the origins of Juneteenth and how to share its history with younger generations, visit: 

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month Resources

National Hispanic Heritage Month

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15, 2021 to October 15, 2021), here are some resources that serve to promote Latinx students in STEM:

  • Latinas in STEM: Spreads awareness about STEM and encourages middle and high school Latinas, especially within underserved communities, to consider pursuing a STEM career.
  • TECHNOLOchicas: Designed to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology.
  • Space Place by NASA (in Spanish): It’s mission is to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids’ learning of space and Earth science online through games, hands-on activities, informative articles, and videos. Includes resources for parents and teachers.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month Resources

November is Native American Heritage Month

During the month of November, we elevate the importance and diversity of Native American heritage. Native American traditions are steeped in science and engineering. Native American engineers and scientists have built on that legacy to benefit society. Learn more about notable STEM trailblazers and their contributions and access teacher resources by visiting the Native American Heritage Month website.

Sisterhood of Native American Coders (SONAC)

Sisterhood of Native American Coders (SONAC) is a nonprofit that creates access and exposure to the field of computer science to address the disparities in opportunities to learn for underrepresented Native American girls. SONAC’s aims to inspire the next generation of young female innovators to pursue careers in STEM by engaging them at an early age (9 to 12 years old), when interest levels can falter, and to foster a lifelong passion for STEM.

Expressing Gratitude to Indigenous Peoples Resources

Expressing Gratitude to Indigenous Peoples

ShareMyLesson has compiled a variety of culturally-sensitive resources on paying respect to native and indigenous cultures as a part of deeper learning from indigenous practices.