Wednesday, November 16, 2016

 

Hello, supporters and friends:

Last week, I visited each of our schools in the wake of an unprecedentedly divisive election. I left feeling incredibly hopeful and energized. I am truly honored and grateful to work with such an amazing group of social service professionals, and I want to take a moment to thank each of you for all that you do to support us and our students.

As I went through my day, it was evident that the outcome of this election has been difficult both personally and professionally for many of us. It has also been incredibly challenging for our students. Each school I visited shared that students are feeling fearful and anxious about what’s to come; fears of being deported, fears of losing health insurance for parents who are sick, as well as their personal safety. At the same time, I heard messages of strength, of resilience, and of courage to continue moving forward. Our site coordinators were holding space for students and adults alike to process, identify coping skills, and build community. In those spaces, students were not only coming forward with fears, but also with messages of hope and encouragement.

As I made my way through Los Angeles, I was able to experience the power of our youth’s voice and leadership, in choosing to walk out of school. I spoke with one student we work with and she explained that the purpose of the walk-out was not in protest of this election’s outcome, it was not “anti” anyone. The purpose was to bring our communities together and create a space to support each other amidst these difficult times. I’m so encouraged by our youth and know that they will carry us through.

At the end of the day, I left feeling hopeful and reassured that the work we are doing is not only important, but needed as we continue to build equitable educational environments. We will continue to work towards leveling the playing field for black and brown students by providing the individual resources they need and we will continue to support schools in creating academic environments that take into consideration the many barriers that our students face.

Thank you for all that you do!

Sincerely,

Gaudencio Marquez
Chief Program Director