On behalf of the Board and staff of Reality Changers, I write today hoping you and your families are well and safe, yet knowing that many of us are not. Our hearts are aching, and we are searching for answers, actions, and hope. All of us are concerned about our students and their families while also personally worrying about our own loved ones.
The horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, together with the demonstrations and unrest sweeping our nation are tearing at us all. These tragedies come at a time when our world has already been profoundly disrupted by COVID-19. And many of those hit the hardest are people of color, particularly African Americans – the very same people in communities already burdened by a history of prejudice, poverty, and racism. This is especially true in San Diego and for the students and families we support daily.
We are tired, angry, and heartbroken. However, Reality Changers remains steadfastly committed to preparing youth to become first-generation college students and agents of change in their communities. Much of this work requires addressing the overwhelming systemic injustices at the heart of the ongoing protests we are currently witnessing. We are all allies in this movement.
You may be asking yourself what you can do to show up for people most impacted in this moment. Here are some considerations:
— Check-in. An earnest, heartfelt call or text can go a long way right now. Ask how people are feeling as they take in everything that’s going on. Our students and their families need to know that we are still here to support them.
— Listen more than you speak. These are heavy and uncomfortable conversations taking place, whether at a dinner table or in the streets. It’s crucial that we all take a moment to heed the cries of pain and agony. The more we listen, the better we can understand how to address and eradicate the harmful systems and practices destroying our communities.
— Acknowledge your privilege. We all have varying degrees of advantage, whether inherent or hard-earned. Now, more than ever, we must look for ways to leverage these advantages to benefit those who are underserved. That is how we forge a path to a more equitable society.
— Get informed. There is a wealth of books, articles, podcasts, etc. that can help each of us be more knowledgeable about the background context that has shaped our current social climate. Learning more about history and the lived experiences of other people helps us better address our needs as a community and effect meaningful change.
— Invest your time and money. Organizations like Reality Changers are doing transformational work in our communities day in and day out. Big change takes big resources but no contribution is too small. Donate and volunteer with causes and organizations that share your values.
Thank you for all of your unyielding support of Reality Changers and our mission to help students become the change-makers of tomorrow. We are committed to supporting our youth who will create the systemic change that we need. It will take all of us to work together to build a more equitable society, and Reality Changers will continue to work alongside organizations that stand for justice and embrace a culture of respect for all people.
Tamara Y. Craver
President & CEO