Editor’s note: For several years, the name Border Crossers didn’t feel like the right fit. The organization had grown well beyond its original mission to support youth in “crossing borders” with one another in service of dismantling racism to—for nearly a decade now—supporting educators in dismantling racism. And even more than being outdated, the name was often a hurdle. At the beginning of every workshop, trainers would have to explain the origins of the name and how the organization had evolved. Simultaneously, although Border Crossers stands in solidarity with the rights of documented and undocumented immigrants, the organization was often confused as an organization that only works with that particular community, especially in Texas.
There was little doubt that the Border Crossers team, led by two co-directors, Laura Shmishkiss and Benny Vasquez, knew they needed a new name. But they wanted to land on one thoughtfully and strategically, and to honor and carry forward the meaningful reputation that the organization had already built.
The new name also needed to accurately reflect their work today and be relevant and resonant well into the future. As such, they wisely embarked on a strategic planning process first, to help crystallize this path and build internal alignment towards its evolution. Guided by and in partnership with Management Assistance Group, the organization developed strategic guideposts that would inform not just their short and long-term programming, but their new brand. This process was key to laying the foundation for a successful partnership with LightBox Collaborative.
Building off of the deep thinking they had done together with MAG, the organization—then Border Crossers—was well-prepared to delve into creating a new brand and name with LightBox Collaborative. We spent our time together building a brand framework grounded in and guided by their values and vision, generating a new name and messaging platform, and supporting their partnership with our friends at Design Action Collective to create a new logo and website that would showcase, and help them live into, their new brand.
Finally, in October, with much purpose and love, Border Crossers officially became the Center for Racial Justice in Education, a name that is clear as day about who they are and what they stand for. The LightBox team is so proud to have worked with their team on this journey. Please read below to find out more about their history and to learn how to get involved with the Center for Racial Justice in Education—an organization whose expertise in dismantling racism and transforming communities our country so desperately needs.
Original post: Our Rebrand Story
In 2001, Border Crossers was named and founded by Sachi Feris. From 2001 through 2010, Border Crossers worked directly with students, teaching them to “cross borders” with one another, to develop understandings that would help dismantle racism.
In 2010, the mission and direction of Border Crossers shifted to training educators to disrupt and dismantle racism in their classrooms, communities and homes. We continue to believe in the power and potential of youth to advance racial justice, but we know that they cannot—nor should they—do it alone.
Since 2010, we have trained thousands of educators—from parents to teachers to coaches—to disrupt and dismantle racism wherever children learn, whether in a classroom, at the dinner table, or on a theater stage.
For the last 18 years, we have grown and been known as Border Crossers. The work of Border Crossers will live on as we continue to grow into a new identity and new name. Although our name has changed, our mission remains the same. We remain steadfast in our belief that racism has deep roots in our institutions, in our families, and in our communities. There is no place of learning—no child, no educator—that is immune to its effects. We will continue to support educators in confronting the impact of race and racism in their own lives and the lives of the children in their care. Lastly, together, we are constructing a new reality. A world of racial justice where all children, their families, and their communities thrive.
We are now the Center for Racial Justice in Education, where in dismantling racism, we are transforming communities—across New York City, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and nationwide.
Irene wants to know: What are your hopes and dreams for a rebrand?