In making a statement on behalf of First Graduate, let me be clear—the murder of George Floyd, like that of so many unarmed black people before him—was wrong. Black lives matter.
Our work is centered on education access and success for all because we believe that it is the gateway to equity, inclusion, leadership, and empowerment. We do not waver in our purpose nor in our commitment to our students, to their families, and to the communities they come from.
As Renee Rubin Ross wrote, “Racism isn’t people in faraway parts of our country, it’s the implicit bias we all carry around as we consume American culture and the systemic, baked-in ways that people of color are often treated as “less-than” by every institution and system in our nation.”
We at First Graduate value the richness of every culture. We strive to embrace diversity and to be inclusive in our work–an ever-evolving process. We may not always succeed, and we hope you will hold us accountable when we fall short.
Our intentions are to be respectful of each person and who they are, to listen, to hear their stories, and to provide a safe space in which they can grow their dreams for a better future—not just for themselves, but for all of us. When they rise, we all rise.
The work continues, and we ask for help, because while we cannot complete the work, everyday we move closer to a better and more just future by helping our students become first-generation college graduates. For our students: we hear you and we see you and we are here for you. We hope that you will be equipped with knowledge, supported by understanding, kindness, and encouragement, and that your courage and commitment will help you achieve your goals.
Our hope is for the future that they, and we, will create together; one that recognizes the value of every human being and honors their histories and uniqueness.
A next step is continuing to educate ourselves; here’s a good source. And a last, critical step is action. If you need ideas, here’s a post from KQED San Francisco on 5 Ways to Show Up for Racial Justice.
Be safe, be courageous, be smart.