May 29, 2020
Friends of the Children Statement on Tragic Death of George Floyd and Racially-Motivated Incidents
From Friends of the Children CEO, Terri Sorensen
Our hearts are broken. Actions like the death of George Floyd, the Central Park incident and the arrest of a Black reporter on national TV all send messages that being Black doesn’t matter. We will not accept these messages or actions.
As a diverse organization that includes hundreds of Black staff and board members and thousands of incredibly talented and exceptional Black youth, these incidents have shaken us to the core. Racism and police violence cause trauma (and re-traumatization) every single time something like this happens. Our youth and staff are already under a lot of stress.
These incidents are devastating and disheartening, and remind us why one of our core values is Demand Equity.
“We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families, and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills, and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic, and institutional barriers.”
How do we move forward? We find hope by learning from and listening to the youth in our program – to their families, our Friends, and our communities. It is their voice, their determination, and their perseverance that show us what a “no matter what” commitment to empowerment and change can mean.
Hope is not going to heal race relations in this country. But we can use it as a tool to drive support for the hard work ahead. We are committed to speaking up and to actively working to dismantle racism in this country. We remain angry; we remain saddened; and we remain determined to demand equity.
Thank you for all you do to support our youth, families and organization.