The murder of George Floyd has led some to ask: how can such a thing happen here? Unfortunately, that’s not a question often asked by African Americans, who know that terrible incidents like this have happened all too frequently, and for far too long, across this country. And who know that police brutality is only one of many violent, life-threatening inequities in America today.
There are countless names that precede George Floyd. Some we know well: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Samuel DuBose, John Crawford, and Cleveland’s Tamir Rice. Others are victims of violence beyond media’s limelight. And too many of them are children.
Say Yes Cleveland exists to support the children of our city, children who must overcome systemic inequities simply to have a chance at a future. Racial, economic, environmental and social injustices in our community compound each other and take away our children’s hope, health, opportunity, and too often, life.
We firmly believe that Say Yes Cleveland scholarships and long-term support services will have a big, positive impact on the people of our city over the next several generations. But at times like this, tomorrow can seem a long way off and we want to do what we can today for those who are in pain, and who are fighting for a better future.
So right now, in this moment:
We offer help for those struggling with the trauma and mental weight of recent events. CMSD students (or their families) in need of mental health support can be connected to help by our Family Support Specialists or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We commit to expanding opportunity for African Americans and other people of color, from the minority-owned businesses we seek to spend our money with, to the extraordinary professionals of color who make up more than 80% of our staff.
We share ways that anyone committed to justice can take action:
And, we stand strong in our beliefs: George Floyd was murdered by four individuals but perhaps more importantly, by the systemic discrimination and injustice Americans have learned to simply accept over decades. Black Lives Matter. Systemic change must come.
We believe every one of us has a part to play in ending injustice, and a responsibility to work for a more equitable future starting today. And all of us are committed to playing our part here in Cleveland, on behalf of the children and families we serve.