A Note from our Executive Director
Last month, I shared with you IVYP’s statement against racism. Our statement was crafted collectively and reflected the voices of staff across all of our programs. I’m proud of our statement and the process we engaged in to craft it. But, statements aren’t enough.
What are we doing at IVYP to advance the cause of anti-racism? How are we moving from statement to action? As a team, we’ve been discussing actions we can take to identify our own implicit bias. Team members are actively recognizing racist messages they’ve received in their families. As one team member so beautifully put it, “we want to learn how to not be accidentally racist.” We recognize that even though the majority of our staff are people of color, every one of us has been living in a sea of racist messaging and that it takes tremendous effort and trust to rethink all of those messages. We are beginning a formal organizational assessment, looking at our board practices, our hiring, our teaching, and our decision making. We will be engaging in implicit bias training with all of our staff. Externally, we continue to raise questions about race and racism in public spaces. We are being more intentional about engaging with Black as well as Latinx community members. I do not know how to do this right. But, if not now, when? If not me, then who?
In our statement we wrote together:
Isla Vista Youth Projects mitigates the effects of poverty, racism, and trauma by providing high-quality, trauma-informed child care, comprehensive, culturally-sensitive family support, and visionary community leadership. We will not be silent in the face of injustice. We will tell our stories. We will listen. We will acknowledge and question our own internalized racism. We will question our assumptions. We will continue our work that is ultimately the only permanent antidote to hate – creating authentic, trusting, real relationships that cross boundaries.
Now is the time for courage. We must not be afraid to speak from the heart to our children, to our students and to one another.
These are not just words. They are informing our actions. I invite you to join us.