February, in the U.S, is designated Black History month. It calls for comment, observation, justice, equity, awareness, allyship, and education. It also calls for celebration, and one month is not enough time in which to recognize the difference that African Americans and other Black people have made in this country.
We celebrate the achievement of courageous men and women whose struggle has been as simple as being seen as human and as daunting as a walk in space. We hope that the arc between those two points bends towards justice and we recommit ourselves to making that happen.
At First Graduate, we are committed to making a difference for the young people we serve and for their families. But it is not we (staff and volunteers) who make change happen. It is the students themselves, showing up day after day for 12 years—doing more work after school—so they can attain the first college degrees in their families.
This takes courage, and resilience. And, while our student population reflects the percentages in the San Francisco Unified School District, we want to and must do more to invite Black students to see how this program can move a family out of poverty in a single generation, even in a city as complex as San Francisco.
We hope you will celebrate our students with us. Visit our website, watch our videos on YouTube, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and read their stories.
It has been said that intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still function. We recognize both the pain and the joy within the Black community. Let us work toward creating more of the latter year by year, led by our new young leaders who are shaping the future.
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