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Statement to the City Year San Antonio Alumni Community

Dear City Year alumni and community,

We recognize the work we at City Year have to do to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy that’s inherent in the systems we operate in, our society, and many organizations, including our own—and that doing so is critical to our mission of advancing educational equity. I’m grateful to have heard from many of our alumni who have been pushing us as an organization to speak up and take action that reflects our commitment to doing this work.

In the past, City Year San Antonio has failed to acknowledge the horrific murders of Black people at the hands of police. We want to publicly recognize the loss of Marquise Jones, 23, who was fatally shot in the back by an SAPD officer in February 2014; of Antronie Scott, 36, who was unarmed and fatally shot by an SAPD officer in February 2016; and of Charles “Chop” Roundtree Jr., 18, who previously attended City Year partner school, Lanier High School, and was unarmed when he was shot to death by SAPD officer in October 2018.

We know police violence continues to plague our communities across the country, resulting in the tragic loss of innocent Black and brown lives. Moving forward, we will not remain silent when these atrocities happen. We apologize for the harm our lack of public acknowledgement has caused and commit to doing better.

We have recently made some changes to ensure our commitments are translating to action, particularly to ensure that Black members of the City Year community—our corps, staff and students—are supported.

  • This year, we have allocated funding to support racial equity training for staff and corps.
  • Last month, as people within our greater community took action, we provided staff with more flexibility to allow members of our community to take time for healing, self-care or to engage as citizens in solidarity.
  • This week, the City Year San Antonio staff team participated in an exercise to assess where the site falls on the continuum of becoming an Anti-Racist Institution and identify strategies we might implement to move us further along the continuum. This will give us a path forward for the coming year.
  • City Year San Antonio continues to work with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) to voice our support of restorative justice and efforts to expand restorative practices within their campuses, so that we move toward eliminating the policies and practices that lead to Black and brown students being unfairly and disproportionately disciplined in schools.
  • City Year as a national organization is also taking action. Last year, City Year launched a National Equity Advisory Council to inform, influence and advance the organization’s DBIE roadmap. Recently, we formed The Black Leadership Response Collective (BLRC) to support City Year’s ability to effectively lead with the cultural competency required to dismantle racism, white supremacy and anti-Blackness.
  • Finally, I am also aware that I have more personal work to do, to listen and learn, to step aside when other voices need to speak, and to take action.

In the last several weeks, our nation and world have been reminded of the stain that racism has left on our society.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain and countless other lost lives have galvanized so many of us into action. Using your collective voice, you have shown that our alumni are inspired to help us do better while also surfacing the need for City Year to be more deliberately transparent with alumni about our anti-racism efforts. I hope this is just the beginning of our conversation with you.

Thank you for your commitment to change.

Yours in service,

Kelly Hughes Burton
Executive Director

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