The Equity & Justice Institute


The Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute is a landmark program of Crossroads School, launched in September 2018.
Former Head of School Bob Riddle conceived of the Institute to provide more opportunities for students to develop as engaged citizens and to significantly bolster the School’s impact on the global community. Crossroads’ Board of Trustees approved the proposal in 2012 as part of the capital campaign Worlds Unimagined: The Campaign for Crossroads. 

The Institute launched in 2018 with a mission to find meaningful solutions to the challenges our students will inherit, including racism, sexism, poverty, war, environmental degradation, educational inequities, religious persecution and genocide. The Institute brings new opportunities for service and innovation to our students while developing and supporting meaningful community action with partner organizations.

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The Equity & Justice Institute

Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® Program
In the summer of 2021, the Equity & Justice Institute began a three-year commitment to host the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. Serving nearly 50 students from the Pico neighborhood, the six-week program offers full days of instruction at Crossroads taught by student interns from Santa Monica College. The multicultural and researched-based curriculum promotes literacy, civic engagement and social action. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, including lead gifts from funding partner Pacific Western Bank and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the program is free of charge.

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The Younes and Soraya Nazarian

Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series
A key feature of the Institute is the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series. The series brings noted scholars and activists to campus to help stimulate dialogue among students, educators and community leaders committed to tackling the problems of racism, poverty, war, genocide, educational inequities, environmental degradation, religious persecution and other forms of injustice. These events are free and open to the public. (Pictured: Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism”)

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The Equity & Justice Institute

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  • Meet the Director

    Cassandra Chase is the director of the Equity & Justice Institute at Crossroads. In this role, she collaborates with students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff and the entire School community to make an impact on local, national and global issues.

    “It is with great enthusiasm, commitment and imagination that I begin this journey at  Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences as the director of the Equity & Justice Institute,” writes Cassandra. “I join with the awareness that radical models of education are vital in addressing diverse, systemic, critical domestic and global issues. I embrace the Institute's mission and look forward to building this beloved community, together.”
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The Equity & Justice Institute

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Supporting the Institute

The Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute is financed through an endowment made possible by generous donors. If you would like to make a gift to support the work of the Institute, please email