A message from our CEO
As we ready ourselves to begin another year of service in schools, we are all struggling with the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old African American young man from Ferguson, Missouri. Although we do not serve in the St. Louis area, the majority of the 150,000 students we do serve are students of color, many of them African American young men like Michael Brown. Our corps is also diverse, a majority of whom are young adults of color; many were the first in their families to go to college.
Our hearts go out to Michael Brown's family. For the Brown family and for the nation, it is vital that justice be served by a complete, transparent and independent investigation of his death and that peaceful protest be protected. It is essential that through constructive dialogue and action, we take concrete steps to ensure that all Americans – especially African American boys and men, who too often face a withering set of economic, educational, judicial and cultural disadvantages and hardships – have the complete protection of our laws and access to the full benefits of our democratic society.
Every American has a stake in this work, as it impacts our country's core ideals and values.
As an organization, we must rededicate ourselves to the daily work of helping students and schools succeed in many of the highest poverty communities in the country. In the coming weeks and months, that means listening to the students we serve, and discussing, at their request, the tragic events of the last ten days, and the other circumstances of their lives that cause them doubt, distress and anger. It means being there for them, and with them, at their side, as an advocate for their personal success. We need to show them that we are part of legions of caring Americans who believe in them, and will help them achieve their goals.