There are no words to express both the outrage and the profound sadness that I feel, and I know we all feel, over recent events in our nation. From the attack on members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando to the shootings of African-Americans Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the brave police officers who lost their lives during the protest in Dallas, these senseless killings seem to be an endless road. The loss of life is tragic and difficult to bear.
This past weekend I was listening to many conversations and interviews on the TV and radio including comments from spiritual, government and community leaders, youth, and police, talking about police training, communication between races, institutional racism, gun control, and more. The solutions seem so far away and hard to reach. Yet, I know, it is mine and LAYC’s responsibility to be part of the solution in the days and years to come.
Sometimes when I feel so small in the world in the face of so much violence, misery, hunger, and loss, I know that my energy and emotions turn inward as I try to impact that which is within my reach—and always, that leads me to LAYC. Perhaps that is why I have stayed here so many years – I do feel that here, with all of you, I can make a difference.
When I think about everyone at LAYC, the relationships that form, our daily conversations, the comfort we provide to one another during times of loss, the Black lives that matter and that we care for, and the Latino lives we support and fight for, I know that we are here for each other in sound and significant ways. Of course, we are flawed, yet we surface our flaws and try to sincerely communicate in real ways.
Whether it is the leadership of the LAYC Committee on Organizing on Racial Equity (CORE) committee of staff and youth, or our LGBTQ ally group and training, or our DREAMER/DACA staff and youth committee, I feel proud of our efforts to support each other, support our youth, and to stand for the values that we represent through our words, actions, and work. I know that many of our youth are angry and feeling a great deal of pain. I am not sure there is a way around those feelings—we just need to be here to support them and each other with kindness, respect, care, and love.
For every Black life at LAYC, please know that you matter. And, LAYC is here for all the youth that walk through our many different doors.