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Creating a more just nation – it starts here

 

Dear City Year Alumni and Community,

We are devastated by the news that on June 18, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies shot and killed Andrés Guardado, an 18-year-old son, brother, cousin, friend and beloved former City Year student. We condemn the repeated police killings of Black and Brown Americans – this must stop.

Our staff mourns with you and joins you in demanding justice for this latest police killing. We recognize that members of our own community are personally impacted by this continued violence and want, more than anything, for those across the country who face systemic oppression and the impact of police brutality to find justice and peace.

City Year and our alumni play a critical role in dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy in this country, and we recognize that we can’t get to our mission of advancing educational equity without fighting for racial justice. For the past few years, we have used feedback from our staff, corps and alumni to do better. We have invested in allyship training with Service Never Sleeps, and increased the use of nationwide affinity groups for our people to drive change. More recently, we helped ensure our staff and corps have the space and flexibility to join protests against racial violence.

Moving forward, we commit to continued collaboration with our partners to create systemic change and to naming the systems and practices we see in our day-to-day work that impede educational equity. To start, we will stop using LAPD’s Deaton Hall for organizational gatherings and re-examine our procedures for how we advocate for our students when school police are involved.  Today we signed onto a letter supporting a resolution by LAUSD board member Monica Garcia that would phase out school police by 90% over the next four years and reinvest those resources to the highest-need schools.

In the past few weeks, you have shown that City Year alumni are motivated to help us redefine the role we all play in civic leadership and change, and we thank you for engaging with us in a broader conversation. We are inspired to see that you all, who were most proximate to the work with students, continue to organize and be a strong voice for change. Our next step is to identify spaces that incorporate the critical alumni voice to build a just and equitable City Year, as we fight for a more just and equitable nation. Stay tuned for communication from us to join these conversations – whether in community forums, town halls and certainly in partnership with our alumni board. We hope you’ll continue to stay engaged and mobilized.

Until then, please join us in remembering Andrés. If you are able and would like to donate to the family, please do so here.

Yours in service,

Mary Jane Stevenson, Executive Director, CYLA

Christian Entezari ‘14, Board Chair, CYLA Alumni Board

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