As youth workers, children look up to us to teach them right from wrong.
The death—the murder—of George Floyd is wrong. Our country’s unrelenting, inequitable treatment of people of color is wrong. The systemic racism embedded in our society is simply wrong.
Black lives DO matter. Our organization’s commitment to stand in the shared values of anti-racism, inclusion, equity, and fairness toward those whose well-being is under constant threat will remain.
In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Right now, everywhere the youth of New York look, they see injustice. Many of these children already sense that the deck is stacked against them
Roads to Success stands with our youth as well as their families and against the institutional racism and systemic abuse that has eroded the social trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.
As we continue to provide virtual after-school and summer programming, we will also continue to embrace a holistic approach that includes trauma-informed practices as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, we need support from parents and caregivers to continue to have conversations with your children regarding these topics at home.
If you're not sure where to start, here are 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids About Race from MomsRising (y en español también), and let your child ask questions. Remember, silence about race reinforces racism by letting children draw their own conclusions based on what they see. Childcare providers, youth workers and families can play a powerful role in helping children of all ages develop positive attitudes about race and diversity and skills to promote a more just future—but only if we talk about it!
It's OK to not have all of the answers... they're called difficult or courageous conversations for a reason. Be honest, do some research, and learn (and unlearn) together.
This is life-long work. Your children will always be our students, and we will always stand in partnership with you and your families.
Bashan Fernandez and the Roads to Success Team