We are hurting. Much like the rest of the country, all of us here at La Vida Scholars- our students, our families, our staff- are processing the overwhelming emotions of the past week: frustration, anger, exhaustion, fear, anguish, rage.
To our students and families, but especially our Black community members, we want to tell that you are seen, you are heard, and you are loved. Let it be clear that La Vida Scholars unequivocally believes that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
We are angry. Horrific acts of police brutality and racist practices against the Black community are a hideous thread in the fabric of American history and identity. The senseless murder of George Floyd last week is an unacceptable tragedy. Our outrage builds with each name added to an already long list of Black lives lost.
Each of these lives mattered and were taken too soon. And it should not take another life lost for us as a country and yes, us as an organization, to condemn not only these actions but the overall racism in this country.
No one should be comfortable with the painstaking predictability of the injustices that plague American society & institutions, or the subsequent suppression of justified outrage and black voices. The first step to change is not shying away from the truth and acknowledgement of America’s original sin: the institution of slavery, and legacy of white supremacy that has followed.
We are called to action. We recognize that there are a variety of ways to respond to injustice. We are proud of and inspired by the young people that have taken to the streets to peacefully demonstrate, those using social media as a platform to spread awareness, speak your truths, or stand in solidarity, and those making donations to supporting causes.
We appreciate the students who have mobilized, asked what La Vida is going to do, reached out for help, and even held us accountable with the use of our platform. We know that we need to do more and we plan to do more. As an organization we deeply believe that our work is rooted in social justice, to arm students with the tools to address inequities in education. This past week we suspended our regular programming and focused instead on providing our students a safe and brave space to talk, vent, listen, share, and support one another. We do not shy away from addressing the systems of racism our students are confronted with and will face in higher education and beyond. Going forward we will focus on how we can truly be an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement through our actions and commitment to our students, families, alumni, and partners.
Please know you can reach out to any of the staff for questions, support, feedback, someone to talk to, or if you want to contribute to our efforts and growth. Please find below resources for anyone in our community who wants to self reflect, support organizations on the frontline, and learn what you can do to create a more just and equitable world.
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
- Martin & Malcolm by James Baldwin
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- The First Next Time by James Baldwin
- March by John Lewis
- Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- And many more
- The 13th (available on Netflix)
- When They See Us (available on Netflix)
- Just Mercy (watch for free)
- Fruitvale Station (available on Netflix)
- Malcolm X (available on Netflix)
- The Hate U Give
- See You Yesterday (available on Netflix)
- And many more
- Be Free – J.Cole
- This is America – Childish Gambino
- Freedom – Beyonce feat. Kendrick Lamar
- Let Migo – D Smoke
- How Many (Black Lives) – Miguel
- Glory – Common feat. John Legend
- And many Podcasts
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Black Visions Collective
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Communities United Against Police Brutality
- NY Mag “115 Ways to Donate in Support of Black Lives and Communities of Color”