At Northwest Youth Corps, we recognize that racism has historically been built into our American system, and our work has been to focus on Equity and Inclusion in our organization with hope and confidence that this would help make our society more just. That our work would contribute to a national healing.
But this week, it is clear that this is not enough. Our nation is wracked by violence and brutality that inequitably targets communities of color. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and too many others to be counted, are being killed for simply living their lives.
This violence destroys trust and leads to further disenfranchisement – terrorizing the very thing we need to sustain our families and communities, the prospect of a better tomorrow. In these difficult times, we are asking our Northwest Youth Corps family – our 20,000 alumni and thousands of stakeholders to join us in speaking out to interrupt racism and transform our communities.
To quote Ijeoma Oluo, “the beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward.”
We will continue to build community that is equitable and inclusive, utilizing our programming to give our voice, our resources, and our expertise to provide our diverse group of participants the tools they need to learn, grow, and experience success.
We share the sadness and the shame that is a by-product of the institutional racism built into our social fabric. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We believe we all have to do better. And we will not perpetuate violence by being silent.