By Michelle Redman, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota
As a leader of a youth-serving organization, I cannot be silent. As a mom, I cannot be silent. As a privileged white female, I cannot be silent. Our silence is not “neutral” but detrimental to our community. The names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery join a long list of Black people who were murdered for no reason – other than the color of their skin. These senseless crimes have been going on for far too long, and it is time for change.
As the director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota, I cannot say we stand with our youth unless we stand with all youth. Right now, our Black community needs us. They need to hear our voices, that we stand with them, and that they are not alone in this fight.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we ignite, empower, and defend the potential of youth. This statement means nothing unless we stand up for what is right and use our voices and actions to help a part of our community when they need us the most. By connecting Bigs and Littles, bridging gaps between races and cultures, creating life-changing friendships, and empowering voices to speak out against injustice, we have only started on the journey to justice.
Moving forward, Big Brothers Big Sisters will do better to educate about race and racism. We will challenge ourselves daily to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion into all that we do. We will continue to help identify and bridge that gap in the communities we serve.
We encourage our community and supporters to join with us, as we navigate what being an ally in 2020 looks like: listening, reflecting, learning, and taking action. I cannot be silent. Neither should you.