We Stand With You: A letter from our Executive Director, Kelly Sturgis
“Dear partners and friends,
As youth workers, children look up to us to teach them right from wrong.
The death—the murder—of George Floyd is wrong. Our country’s unrelenting, inequitable treatment of people of color is wrong. The systemic racism imbedded in our society is simply wrong.
In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Right now, everywhere the youth of New York look, they see injustice.
Many of these children already sense that the deck is stacked against them. Make sure that when in your care, every child knows that they are safe and that their voice will be heard.
As you plan your upcoming programming, I encourage you to embrace a holistic approach that includes trauma-informed practices as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. On our DEI resource page, we also include a list of books that help facilitate conversations about race and justice with children of all ages. Share this list with parents and caregivers to encourage the continuation of these discussions at home. Discuss these resources among your staff and colleagues to better understand individual experiences, educate about the history of racial injustice in our country, and act together in solidarity.
These are not easy conversations. But they are critical. The Network always stands with you, our essential youth workers, and we are here to support your work as we once again navigate our collective grief.
Kelly Sturgis and the New York State Network for Youth Success Team”