Hatred must not overshadow our words and our actions. We continue to empower our young people through shared values and a vision of connection and mutual respect for one’s beliefs and humanity. In times of tragedy, despair, or violence, we stand with communities that are affected in hopes that our presence and action rebuild trust and develops dialogue that heals and inspires. In response to recent anti-Semitic attacks and on the heels of recent mass shootings in California and Florida, we must ground ourselves in our mission to serve all youth equitably. Equity stands in the face of tragedy with resilience. Equity is the building block by which we dedicate our time and our power to be at our best for the communities that seek healing and understanding when they are faced with circumstances outside of their control. Big Brothers Big Sisters welcomes, affirms, and acknowledges one’s uniqueness and celebrates it without judgement. No community nor individual is immune to tragedy, but it is how we recover and rebuild that provides the model for our youth to see that vicious displays of hatred will not be tolerated, nor define us. We unite in solidarity with all marginalized communities and denounce violence and discrimination against any community based on their religious beliefs.
Young people who continue to witness acts of violence and hatred need adults to listen and respect one another for who they are regardless of religious affiliation, race, national origin, sexual identity, or any other identifiable difference.
One of the ways we continue to break down barriers and build understanding is through our Race, Relationships and Resources series. We engage experts and those within the Big Brothers Big Sisters network to join us for courageous conversations to share insight and perspectives as we tackle our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work. And last week, we launched our new JEDI Cultural Humility Training, designed for staff, Bigs and Board members. This training explores the history of justice in our mentoring story, it’s importance for young people, and how to utilize JEDI strategies. Those who go through this training will learn the history of systemic factors that contribute to disparities amongst communities and build cultural awareness. We do not have all the answers. But these are steps in a long journey to be a part of the solution that our young people need—and deserve.