History and Philosophy
The Dignified Learning Project is a registered 501(c)(3), founded in 2016. The DLP began as a research project by Charlene Holkenbrink-Monk, the executive director, when she was a graduate student of Dr. Choi, the board president. Upon realizing that research efforts, while respectable, oftentimes lacked action. They decided that their work would do better as a long-term project, hence the creation of The Dignified Learning Project.
One key element of The DLP is its rejection of educational reform. By looking at the logo, one will see a circle. However, it is not completely enclosed. That is intentional. Dr. Choi introduced this concept as a way to indicate change without stagnation and renewed flow rather than simply recycling what already is. For Charlene, it indicates that inequitable systems packaged in nice wrapping paper with a bow are still just that: inequitable systems. The DLP aims to transform institutions and structures by engaging in community dialogue, approaching all services with a critical eye, and always reflecting on not just society, but the organization’s efforts and mission and vision.
As a nonprofit organization, we recognize that we exist within a current system that almost requires the condition of a federal filing to guarantee “charitable” works, and at minimum, to assure people that we are in fact deserving of a nonprofit status, and in turn, their contributions. As a 501(c)(3), there are specific guidelines and regulations that must be followed. However, our goals is to always put community voice first, reject oppressive practices and structures, and to attempt a liberated system.
We firmly hold an anti-exclusionary philosophy. This does not mean that we welcome all opinions, but instead, our philosophy actively rejects other philosophies and ideologies that intentionally exclude, marginalize, oppress, or dehumanize people. We are ready to transform structures to be more equitable.