A message to our Scholars
May 29, 2020
Dear Richmond Promise Scholars,
On behalf of the Richmond Promise team, I am writing a note to acknowledge the recent string of public tragedies involving the killing of Black people at the hands of police and/or white people.
While there are no words to adequately capture our grief and anger, we want you to know we are grieving with you, we are here with you, we are here for you, and we stand with you.
Our primary goal is to support you as the current and future leaders of this community. Our core values at the Richmond Promise include building pathways to and through higher education for you, our community of students, as a tool for leadership and liberation. You are the leaders we’ve been waiting for, and now, more than ever, we need you in our higher education communities.
It is important to state that this is not new. Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbary, and George Floyd are now familiar names added to a long, long list of victims of a deep and lasting racism in our country. These are just a few of the recent more high profile cases while so many more have gone unnamed and unacknowledged in the public sphere, leaving only the private grief and anger of these utterly tragic and indelible injustices for the victims’ families and communities.
As a white female leader, I also want to recognize and acknowledge my own role and positionality in this work, the community, and the world. As a leader, I hope to help us make space to feel, grieve, and strive forward. And I hope to challenge us as the Richmond Promise continue to grow as an explicitly anti-racist organization – both internally and externally. Personally, I will be taking actions within my own community this week to help process and channel my feelings.
We invite you to read this message from UC Davis Chancellor May on George Floyd’s death:
“The events of this week also cause me to believe even more strongly, if that’s possible, in building an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. I remain committed to that and hope you will do what you can to eliminate racism, sexism, and other negative influences on our progression as a nation.
Perhaps higher education can be that positive influence on lives beyond an education. Perhaps here we can create a way forward. Perhaps here we can breathe.”
There is no expectation of response, but our team at the Richmond Promise is here and available to talk and share ideas: feel free to call, text, or email.
Jessie & the Richmond Promise team