There are no perfect words to capture grief and anger, but there are simple ones we must use as our guide: Be there for and with our young people. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd — and far too many others whose names we may not know — are urgent reminders that the tragedies and realities of racism, violence, and injustice for Black people and communities of color are not new or isolated. They are systemic and impact young people every day.
We must acknowledge and provide space for the trauma and emotions young people are processing. We must continue to stand as allies and supports in this moment and every day. We must tend to our own emotional well-being so we can show up with our whole selves for the young people in our lives. Our task is not to be perfect but to be present. Our vulnerability is an invitation to deeper discovery and permission to process.
MENTOR’s commitment continues to be toward creating a movement that is inclusive of and supports all young people. We strive to help create an America where all young people can thrive through meaningful relationships – and that happens when they are safe and their lives are valued. We will continue to be allies and work to rewire inequitable systems that don’t serve all young people well. We continue the work to rewire systems to center supportive, meaningful, and responsive relationships with our young people. This is a constant and urgent call for us all.
When there is national attention on a particular issue, we must pay respect and heed to those who have been doing the work for decades. We stand in solidarity with the organizations and movements that have been directly focused on issues of race, law enforcement community relations, and justice over the long haul. Their fight is our fight.