It’s been a week of reckoning across America and around the world. Our staff joins the rest of our country in mourning, reflection, and the pursuit of collective action.
Second Story is focused on our work to support youth in crisis, and we partner with other organizations who do advocacy work and promote policies that protect youth. We’ve shared some of our thoughts on social media over this past week, but today we feel compelled to say more to our wider community.
To the youth in our community who have felt undervalued throughout their lives and specifically through the events of the past few months: You matter. We see you. We support you. We’re advocating for you. We’ll keep doing our part as best we can.
Here’s the reality: we see systems and disadvantages that disproportionately affect Black youth every day – for example, Black or African American youth and young adults have an 83% higher risk of reporting homelessness than their white peers (according to a Chapin Hall study from the University of Chicago). Recognizing opportunity gaps like this is a key part of our mission in providing safe havens and opportunities for youth in a way that uniquely affirms who they are.
We’re deeply grieved by this and other injustices, such as systemic violence, that impact people of color. Diversity and equality are values that have been at the heart of our mission since we opened our doors in 1972 – we have a diverse staff and serve a diverse group of young people and families. We educate our staff and the youth we serve through group therapy and team trainings on diversity and inclusion. But we know we can always do better. We know that injustice persists, that it affects our staff, the youth we serve, and our community as a whole, and that it requires action from each of us. We are committed to continuing to learn, to being humble and attentive to how we can be better, and to continuing our pursuit for a world where EVERY young person is safe and celebrated for who they are.
And if you, like so many of us, are asking, how do I start? What can I do? We invite you to begin by learning a bit more about the intersection of race and homelessness through this resource from our partner, the National Network for Youth.
We’re eager to continue the conversation. We’re having discussions internally, both with staff and the youth in our programs, and we’re planning to share more in the coming weeks. And as always, thank you for being part of our community, and thank you for caring about youth alongside us.