Dear Comer Family,
As I write this email, I am watching the fires – literal and metaphorical – rage across the country. The injustices that led to this situation are not news to us. We have all been dealing with the ravages of systemic racism on a daily basis, personally and through the eyes of the youth we serve. Now the world has been reminded again of the outrageous disparities that are the underbelly of this country. A friend sent me a link to Martin Luther King’s speech “The Other America” where he says “… a riot is the language of the unheard.” - a quote being shared widely now. Read Dr. King's entire speech here. It is an utter disgrace that the conditions he describes in this speech are still present today.
Unfortunately, we also know that even in a righteous fight for justice, the innocent often get hurt. The trauma we are experiencing is real and the relentless trauma that Black Americans face every day is one of the underlying causes for the health disparities that have been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. So as we continue to meet the urgent needs of our youth and families, we encourage you to reach out to your loved ones and your extended community to support each other during this time of crisis.
Here is a link providing a list of resources that may be helpful at this time.
While today is a trial, I believe that together we will pass the test and come out of this stronger than before. Why am I so confident? Because through our work helping young people develop their full potential, we have observed the extraordinary and overlooked genius of youth from the South and West Sides of Chicago and beyond. We will continue to encircle our youth and young adults with love, guidance, and resources so they can help us shape and build the magnificent Chicago we all deserve.
We need each other now more than ever, and I am truly thankful for your commitment and partnership.
Rhonda Hopps, CFA, Executive Director