To Our Youth, Parents, Community Partners, and Sponsors -
I stand with you as you fight the injustices that lurk in our streets. I stand with you as you march and push for change. I stand with you as you speak up at your jobs. I stand with you as you educate others about the inequalities Black Americans have faced for four centuries.
We are with you as you look in your children's eyes and tell them they matter. We are with you as you hold your family closer and hug them tighter.
At YGAB, there is zero tolerance for racism. We stand firmly and scream from every rooftop - "Black Lives Matter. Black Families Matter. Our children matter. Our communities matter. And we STILL can't breathe!"
We also understand that racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed. What about our brothers and sisters who were murdered and there was no recording? What about the millions of families who's lives have been changed forever because of police brutality, neighborhood vigilantes, and a broken judicial system?
Systemic racism is embedded and intertwined into the very laws that govern this land, into the very organizations that have been deployed to protect and serve our communities. But in the words of one of America's best novelists, essayists, poets, and activists . . .
We are here to face this with you. We must eradicate hatred. We must end violence against our community.
We must dismantle the institutions who've created systems that breed oppression.
As Founder of Youth Going Above & Beyond, my form of resistance has always been to empower, educate, and elevate Black youth and families. This does not mean that all youth should not be empowered, educated, and elevated. It simply means,
Black youth face unprecedented challenges and need our support. I've witnessed and experienced the injustices Black families face every single day, and the disparities that exist in communities of color.
My ideals are embedded in our mission: "We believe every young person can lead no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, background, religion, sexual orientation, or social class."
Growing up in a multi-racial family, I saw the world through the eyes of my maternal grandparents, descendants of enslaved African Kings and Queens, who were born in the Jim Crow South - and fled north chasing hope of safety and economic opportunities. I've also seen the world through the eyes of my paternal grandparents - my grandfather who came to America as an immigrant from The Philippines seeking higher education, and my grandmother who was born into an upper middle class, white family. Their experiences were so different, but their love created proof that we can all thrive together. At a very young age, it was clear to me that each of their experiences in America relied completely on what they looked like and where they were from. As an adult, I now realize that I am both my ancestor's wildest dreams and some of their worst nightmares. I happily accept both and am incredibly proud of the woman I am becoming.
As I push to close these gaps with you, it's my dream to see our generation and the generations coming after us make the changes that will bring fairness, safety, and equity to our communities. Social media and technology has equipped our young people to learn fast and share knowledge even faster.
My internal commitment to you is to continue pouring leadership skills and emotional resilience techniques into our young people, along with a boldness to use their voices. As I often say, "They are our future leaders. And our future is bright."
As you witness this violence against our community, as you have discussions with your co-workers and families, as you continue to not allow fear to keep you from speaking up - please continue to care for yourselves. There is no US without YOU.
With Love and Compassion,
Founder & Executive Director
Youth Going Above & Beyond
Click here for resources on how to have effective conversations, with children of all ages, about race and racism.