Over the last week, our country has been engulfed in the tragic killing of George Floyd. This was further compounded by other acts that threaten the existence of black people. All of this, while we collectively work to rebound from a once-in-a-century pandemic.
I wish I could say that watching the demonstrations from coast-to-coast, I have been inspired to march. But, in all honesty, I am dismayed, because 28 years ago, I was protesting the Rodney King verdict. Fast forward to six years ago, I was marching for Eric, Michael, Tamir, Trayvon and the list goes on and on. I am sure you, as well, have marched for the lives we have lost, 65, 30, 4 years ago.
With all the years, and all the tragedies, we search for the resolve, to march for justice, to march for equity, and to march for peace. We search for the grace to support those that protect and serve us; recognizing that most want to dutifully, and honorably, keep our communities safe. We search for patience to watch this all unfold and to make the changes necessary to prevent these tragedies from happening. But, in all of this, we must continue to search for inspiration, to keep us marching after the protests end, and the news cycle sets its sights on the next crisis.
That final point hit home for me as I watched a discussion on television Sunday. In all of the back and forth about systemic change and racial justice (which is necessary) one commentator shared this:
“We have to make sure that black people, black babies, black children are protected from the things that would threaten them and they can embrace their genius and joy at every turn.” - Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Ferguson Activist
Right there, I realized that we, at Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, continue to march everyday, in our efforts to care for and encourage our Harlem youth. We continue to march, as we help them to achieve academically, and support their social/emotional development. We continue to march, as we help our kids set and achieve their goals, even, in the midst of a pandemic. We do this so our kids build the empathy, resolve, and resilience to march for others, in pursuit of justice, equity and peace.
Thank you all, for continuing to march in advancing our BGCHarlem mission, these acts will reverberate for years to come.
Dominique R. Jones,