To our Black relatives: We see your suffering. We see the ongoing legacy of slavery and oppression, and the ways the same forces continue to manifest today. We see how white privilege is weaponized in ways that compromise your safety and well-being, and we see the impact of ongoing white supremacy. We see your strength, courage, resilience, dignity, and leadership. We stand with you today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives.
To our Indigenous relatives: You are not forgotten. At this moment, we too see your struggles: the way COVID-19 still ravages through your community, a reminder of the legacy of diseases past, and the ongoing impacts of colonization including the disproportionate murders of Indigenous women. We see your solidarity with the Black community, and we see also your strength, courage, and resilience. We stand with you now too–and for the long haul.
To our relatives of color: We see you also. We see the way your safety is always tenuous, and the ways you are harmed by a culture of white supremacy. In these past months especially, we see the increase in violence against some of those whose ancestors come from Asia. We see the ways you take action in solidarity with the Black community, and we see also your strength, courage, and resilience. We stand with you now too–and for the long haul.
To our white relatives: We see you, too. We see the work you are doing to dismantle white supremacy culture inside yourself and in the world around you, and to take accountability. We see your bodies and dollars moving toward justice. We see you working to let go of individualism toward the health of the whole, and call in your white cousins so that they, too, will join us. We see you awakening to how much more you need to do, and your emboldening commitment to this life long work. We stand with you also.
Our prayer at Youth Passageways is a world where all young people are supported on the path to adulthood. Right now, today, young people are in the streets and on their devices. We see you taking your courage, and you are truly making the world a better place with your bold action. Thank you for continuing the struggles of our ancestors.
Our work as a network is to “lovingly add young people to the hearth of community,” to paraphrase an African proverb. We know that this is impossible when siblings, parents, friends, relatives are being killed by police, and when the threat of violence, from the state and from those initiated into hate, looms daily. We call on our partners in emboldened and sustained action in defense of Black Lives. In equal measure, we call on our partners as sources of refuge, healing, and meaning-making as we move into an unknown future.
As a network, we uplift the policy demands of the Movement for Black Lives. We commit to strengthening our work around divesting from law enforcement and the criminal injustice system and toward youth development, and further amplifying and centering our partners hard at work in communities deeply impacted by police violence. We remain vigilant toward the true threats to our unity.
The current systems of power are not built for cultures rooted in trust, reciprocity, and care. As we call forth the world we want to live in, we must rely on each other, and the power we share in connection with one another, our ancestors, and the Earth we share with all Life.
In love and rage,
the Youth Passageways Leadership Circle (Marisa, Kruti, Dane, and Darcy)
P.S. We are a network of care. Those of us holding the center of Youth Passageways are here to share resources, build connections and do our part to respond to the calls of our partners. We know this is what strengthens and uplifts us all. Please ask for what you need and offer what you can, whether that is through our survey, social media, or via phone call.
*Note: This letter was drafted by a white member of our Leadership Circle, reviewed by the rest of the LC, and informed by edits and conversations with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) members of the Cross-Cultural Protocols Working Group, Stewardship Council, and Advisory Circle.
- Follow the lead of the Movement for Black Lives, during this week of action in Defense of Black Lives.
- Donate to Youth Justice Coalition, a Youth Passageways partner on the ground in Los Angeles fighting for justice. Consider monthly giving. One-time gifts in times like this are helpful, but even more so is sustained, reliable giving. Become a monthly donor to a Black-led organization.
- Review the official Black Lives Matter list for additional ways you can engage, petitions to sign, politicians to contact etc.
- Support movement makers like the Movement for Black Lives and/or other black-led organizations on the ground like Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block.
- A Message from the Cross Cultural Protocols Working Group