A message from the Let’s Get Ready Team:
The protests across the country display the pain, anger and outrage not only over the killing of George Floyd, but over the pattern of callous and unjust violence towards Black Americans. The specific weariness and grief experienced by the Black community of living this perpetual cycle must be acknowledged, addressed and resolved. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and the many before coupled with the lack of justice shows a gross absence of respect for their humanity and people that look like them. We believe the duty to dismantle systemic and clandestine forms of racism is not solely the job of police officers and legislators, it is the collective responsibility of all Americans – particularly those that champion this country as a bastion for freedom and equality.
It is also not lost on our organization that we are still in the midst of COVID-19, a pandemic that inequitably impacts communities of color. Just as we needed to listen, be unified, and show empathy to one another in fighting one virus, we are required to do the same in tackling the disease of racial injustice.
The disparities in access to higher education are the byproduct of centuries of exclusionary policies and practices that were grounded in racism and classism. Let’s Get Ready was founded to address and demolish these barriers to educational equality that existed between socioeconomic classes – where the likelihood of attending college could be boiled down to the zip code one hails from. We cannot combat this history and contribute to real progress without a firm commitment to auditing our own organizational practices and profile, and taking the tangible steps necessary to accurately reflect our values at every level of Let’s Get Ready. We will be issuing a follow-up to this statement with an outline of those measures.
But in the meantime, it is important to restate our core values:
- to always put our students first, regardless of race, age, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability,
- to support the staff and coaches who make our work possible, many of whom come from the same communities as our students,
- to cultivate an inclusive community that is empowering, safe, supportive, and appreciative of our differences and
- to be accountable and transparent to our many stakeholders, including participants, staff, partners, supporters and peer organizations.
There are many Let’s Get Ready staff, students, coaches and alumni among those marching at these protests and engaging deeply in anti-racist work. To those representing themselves and us, we thank you for your bravery and stand with you enraged, devastated and resolute in our desire for change. With everyone’s fervent commitment to participate in the much needed discourse happening in our country at this moment, we will come out of this a stronger and better organization and a stronger and better society.