On June 5, 2020 the following statement was sent to Pathways constituents via email:
Dear Pathways Family:
I am rarely at a loss for words, but the horrific murder of George Floyd, so closely following those of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, illustrate the limitations of words to adequately capture what so many of us are feeling as we confront our sense of helplessness, grief and anger.
Racism is seared into the fabric of this country, and all too often of late, violence and murder of our friends, neighbors, and strangers of color are daily news – if video footage exists that make them even rise to the level of demanding public attention.
At Pathways for Children, we caregivers and educators have long recognized the price exacted by income inequality and social injustice. Our inequitable education system, disparities in access to responsive health care and affordable housing, and the effects of implicit bias in the criminal justice system, disproportionately impact black and Latinx individuals.
Many in our communities are engaging in peaceful protests and others long to be able to take action in some concrete way. I write this to join our other non-profit colleagues in sharing some things we all can do since the actions of each and every one of us count.
- We can educate ourselves and others about racism. We can talk with and read to our children and grandchildren. The following books and resources have been recommended highly by a wide variety of groups and I strongly urge each of us to read at least one:
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance: https://www.embracerace.org/resources/26-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-resistance
- We can become active in the political system: complete the census; work on public policy issues that impact social injustice, income inequality, and racism; demand that our elected officials take a stand and protect ALL people; AND VOTE for those that have the values and morality this country was built on. All the rights that we have were not won by one person alone.
- We can seek opportunities to stand up for others and we can listen and learn from one another.
Head Start, Pathways’ largest program began in 1965 under President Johnson’s War on Poverty campaign. Pathways for Children opened two years later under the name of Child Development Programs. I am closing with a quote from the Executive Director of the National Head Start Association, Yasmina Vinci’s address this week:
“From its earliest days, Head Start has been rooted in the search for justice, equality, and opportunity. We believe that Black lives matter and we believe that Head Start’s role as a catalyst for hope serves as a beacon of light in communities once again. We believe that today’s Head Start children—innocent, inquisitive, and brilliant as they are—deserve a hopeful future where their lives are valued unequivocally. We also recognize that it is still too early for many of us to fully understand what is happening and where we go from here. But we can be present. And we can listen. We must listen. To our colleagues, to our friends, and, most importantly, to our children.”
Signing off hoping for a better future,
Sue Todd, President & C.E.O.