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Conversations with Deraan Washington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deraan Washington.

Hi Deraan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I remember sitting in a sociology class as an undergrad and feeling as if I was the only person there on that day and at that particular moment. It felt like everything the professor was lecturing on; racism, bias, social injustice and other topics under the umbrella of social inequality, was tailored perfectly for my understanding.

It was like there was some weird thing inside of me telling me that this was my thing to do in the world. After graduating, I worked as a youth and adolescent counselor. During that time, I learned a lot about the mental health disparities in children, especially children of color. Shortly after counseling, I was hired as a professional development trainer for social workers throughout Sacramento county. I loved, loved, loved that work. I was finally able to teach and train about social matters that seemed to actually matter. Shortly after that, I became an adjunct sociology professor. As you can imagine, I felt as if my initial dreams of becoming an educator during my weird experience in my own sociology class had come to fruition. Currently, I am an Equity Trainer and Consultant for various school districts throughout California and especially Los Angeles County. My full-time work as a trainer and consultant has been life-changing because I am able to train and teach administrators and staff about the biases, racism and other social inequities students are currently facing. Through this journey, I have learned that dreams come true.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There has been some challenges along the way. Educating people about social bias, equity and racism sometimes causes people to become defensive, dismissive and, plain out resistant. On the other hand, there are many people who are fearful of the topics and persist through those fears to become a more socially conscious person.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I feel in flow as an Equity Trainer and Consultant. Every day, I thank the creator of all things for that feeling. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, my title at Epoch Education was Traveling Equity Trainer. For obvious reasons, I no longer travel and that is no longer my title. The “Traveling” dropped from my title but my role is pretty much the same. I currently facilitate virtual trainings for various school districts on topics such as empathy and communication, addressing bias and racism, and student marginalization. The trainings assist administrators, staff and occasionally students with developing a heightened awareness about the topics I have listed. I think of it as giving tools to those who are teaching an often changing, global society.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
Great question. What comes to mind are memories of riding my first bike. I think I was around seven years old. After the training wheels came off, I couldn’t be stopped. Those are the first memories of feeling free to go where I wanted when I wanted.

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