We are deeply saddened by the violence, loss of life and injuries that occurred in Charlottesville. Our hearts go out to those who were targeted by the events over the last weekend.
This horrible event was, sadly, not surprising or new. Bias, racism and bigotry surface and take root in subtle comments, in chosen ignorance, in policies and systems, and, in violence. Words and acts of bigotry are toxic seeds. The violent, white supremacy march was a product of those seeds that were allowed to flourish. The actions over the weekend, and the racism and bigotry behind them, cannot and should never be normalized.
Our nation’s youth deserve nothing less than our unwavering commitment to standing up and speaking out for equity and inclusion, and against bigotry in all of its forms. Our mission calls us to continue to stand with young people to create a safe and supportive community, and demand the equitable opportunities that they so deserve.
We are grateful to the many leaders who have paved a path of peace and justice for us to follow. We are galvanized in our commitment to education and actions that root out the inequity in the systems and policies that impact the lives of teens. We urge our friends, supporters and communities to join this commitment. May we find strength in our community, acknowledge the pain and damage that racism and bigotry continues to inflict, and listen deeply and with compassion.
For the teens, today and always,
To learn more about the conceptual framework behind the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), download the Framework for Thriving Youth here.