Op-Ed: A Call to Fight Injustice

#AFROCoronavirusUpdate

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A Call to Fight Injustice
As much of the country, SparkAction and the Forum for Youth Investment stands in anger, disgust, and grief by the recent murder of George Floyd. We are painfully aware that this is not an isolated incident, as evidenced by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor mere weeks earlier. The violence and inhumanity that led to these and the deaths of countless other Black Americans at the hands of police brutality and blatant racism are but one manifestation of the force of structural racism.
Since our inception, the Forum has advocated for policies and practices that ensure all children, from birth to young adulthood, have the right supports and skills to grow into thriving, productive and healthy adults. These supports include safe and stable environments, healthy and positive relationships, and a sense of connectedness and belonging. It is difficult to ensure young Black people have access to these supports and opportunities without acknowledging and challenging how, despite intentions, White supremacy manifests (anti-blackness and implicit bias, to name a few) in the systems that serve young people. These not only contribute to ongoing racial trauma in young people but also lead to the deep inequities well-documented by decades-long research. Our Black youth deserve better.
The Forum has long been a champion of uplifting and centering the voice of young people in our work. Thus, we are in awe and inspired by the courage of young Black activists, who are putting their lives at risk to take to the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately impacting the Black community. As in previous pivotal moments in our history, they are taking the lead and stirring the moral consciousness of our country in their call for justice.
We recognize that to stand in solidarity is not enough. This is a moment that cannot afford neutrality, inaction, or performative allyship. Therefore, the Forum is recommitting to the call to action equity requires: evaluating and dismantling structural racism and implicit bias, transforming systems of learning and development in school and out, and enhancing systems of support for our most marginalized young people. We are not just focusing this commitment on our external work but turning this lens to our organization and applying it to our internal practices and processes as well.
The road moving forward will not be easy, and the conversations will be challenging, but we are ready to follow in the courageous footsteps of the brave young people in the streets demanding justice and fight alongside them to build an unequivocally anti-racist and more equitable society.
Karen Pittman
Co-founder, President, and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
Take Action:
  • Join the Movement for Black Lives Week of Action
  • Read Forward Promise’s paper: Disrupting Dehumanization and Affirming the Humanity of Boys and Young Men of Color and Their Communities
  • Sign the petition to get justice for Breonna Taylor
  • Take the 2020 census and be counted
  • Read this article from NonprofitAF about OUR role in the “white moderate.”
  • Support your Black colleagues