Coronacast 18: Ramona

“The biggest thing I’m seeing is just the inequity of distance learning.”

Ramona Santos got right to the point when I asked about her experience during the time of the coronavirus. “It’s nothing new,” she added. “We know what we have in our education system and how it impacts communities of color. But I think that this was a new way of seeing things.”

Ramona would know. She is a mom, social worker, and co-founder and executive director of PLEE (Parents Leading for Educational Equity). She has spent the past two months guiding and advocating for parents who are supporting their children in the transition to distance learning. “This is like a big monster that we’re trying to wrap our heads around,” she said, speaking particularly passionately about the challenges for parents of multi-language learners and children with disabilities.

Big heart and spine of steel, that’s how I’d describe Ramona. She has tremendous empathy, and she’s absolutely relentless when it comes to ensuring Providence children have the public education they deserve.

“There is little that we can do to change this pandemic,” she told me. “The nature of this is beyond the control that we have. Whatever we can do, whatever is in our control, we have to focus on doing that… Focusing on what we can control to try to make change. That’s where I’m at.”

Perhaps this is the message we all need right now.