be_ixf;ym_202404 d_18; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

Black lives matter. Black students matter. Black futures matter.

Dear City Year Community,

There is no educational equity without racial justice.

We stand with Black staff, AmeriCorps members, partners, community leaders, and the students we support in schools across the country and their families, to demand justice for the Black people killed by brutal police action. We oppose racist policies and everyday racist practices and actions—all of which are propped up and sustained by centuries of anti-Blackness and racist beliefs—that oppress and silence Black people.

Black lives matter.  Black students matter.  Black futures matter.

This week, our focus has been on our people and our community. One immediate step we took was to ensure that our staff have the flexibility to take time for healing and self-care or to engage as citizens in solidarity.

While a commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging has always been one of City Year’s core values since our founding, we acknowledge we have equity work to do—inside and outside the organization—and are committed to doing more to drive change and break down systems that drive educational and racial inequities. We as a team and as an organization are committed to relentlessly reviewing and improving our own policies and practices.

We are reiterating our commitment to this work and to making ourselves accountable, and to actively opposing racist policies, beliefs and behaviors—the engines of racial inequities. We are also committing ourselves to naming the systems and practices we see in our day-to-day work that impede educational equity, and to collaborating with our partners to create systemic change.

The beliefs that created these inequitable systems are not new. They have been part of our history from 1619 to today, and while some of the laws have changed, systemic racism is in the air we breathe and the water we drink. And I, as a white, cisgender male member of our community, am personally committed to continuing the self-work, to constantly re-examining the implications of my privilege, to learning, unlearning and growing as a person, so that I can best partner with my teammates and our community in our mission to create equitable learning environments for students and AmeriCorps members.

Finally, we reiterate our most deeply held belief in the potential of all young people—talent is equally distributed but opportunity is not. We cannot create healthy and equitable learning environments for young people without addressing racial inequities. Educational equity depends on racial justice. We ask our community to join us as we commit and strive to do more.

In service,
Jim Balfanz (Boston ’94), CEO
On behalf of the City Year Management Executive Committee

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