How the Office of Child Development is Emphasizing Social Justice

Four women stand in front of a book case

In January 2018, the Office of Child Development began a thought-provoking, insghtful, and challenging journey. Each month, members of our different programs, with different backgrounds and specialties, gathered to discuss a commonality: race in America.

The conversations, led by members the P.R.I.D.E Program, touched on important subjects, like the biological myth of race, historical examples of race, how to embrace discomfort in conversations about race, and why it is crucial to have these conversations. We watched documentaries, read books, shared personal stories, and learned how race impacts our work with children and young families.

This year, we are building on that strong base. Led by a team of four vibrant consultants, we are striving to learn about a how social justice framework can inform our office’s mission and goals for years to come. What does it mean to be an organization that focuses on social justice? What role do our own personal preconceptions play in our work? And how can we grow, both individually and as a team?

To help us answer these questions and many more, we will meet regularly with our Social Justice Team. Our four leaders have incorporated social justice in a variety of ways, from the yoga mat to the classroom. Together, they will help us as we learn and grow in this important work together.

Meet the Team



Felicia in a yoga poseFelicia Savage Friedman
Felicia creates change and combats racism by practicing and teaching Raja yoga through her own unique and engaging style. Each Friday, she holds an anti-racism yoga class for members of the Office of Child Development, and she can be found teaching throughout the city the rest of the week.


Michelle King smilingMichelle King
Learning instigator may sound like an unusual title, but listen to Michelle speak for just a minute and you will understand how fitting the moniker is. Michelle spent years in the classroom and now partners with a variety of local organizations to “create equitable and empathetic learning opportunities for students throughout the Pittsburgh area.”


Erika Gold Kestenberg
After years work with Pitt’s Center for Urban Education, Erika is now a consultant, working with universities, organizations, and school districts looking to grow in areas relating to social justice. She is the co-author of the book “"These Kids Are Out of Control": Why We Must Reimagine "Classroom Management" for Equity.