StandUp for Kids proclaims that Black lives matter and commits to seven action steps.
In our thirty-year history, we are proud of showing unbiased hospitality to young people experiencing homelessness or at risk for becoming homeless: regardless of skin color, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, ability, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, documented status, or criminal record. We also train our volunteers, commensurate with our values: “respect the individual diversity, beliefs and decisions of each youth we serve,” and we condemn discrimination in any form.
In 2020, it is not enough to be an inclusive organization. Like so many organizations and individuals we are motivated to help put an end to a long national history of police brutality and over-policing in marginalized communities. Having firsthand knowledge of the ways these mechanisms impact the majority of youth who experience homelessness, especially Black and Brown youth, we support peaceful protests across America and around the world demanding an end to unjust police actions.
If we wish to end the cycle of youth homelessness, we cannot be complicit in any system that turns its cheek to racial injustices or responds with force instead of compassion.
We must continue our efforts to eradicate racial discrimination, particularly that which impacts homeless youth. Today, we commit StandUp for Kids to take decisive actions that will help end violence against minorities and in so doing help the youth we serve.
We hold ourselves accountable to the following actions:
Training people across our organization in anti-racism practices by hiring a trainer to host sessions and offer follow-up consultation.
Speaking through social media and volunteer trainings, more frequently and candidly about connections between race and homelessness. We affirm that the role of unexamined privilege and race-blindness, even among helpers, will continue the injustices we seek to extinguish.
Contributing our voice to systemic change by joining national anti-racist advocacy coalitions. We must press for the decriminalization of Blackness and homelessness and for the allocation of civic and philanthropic dollars as an alternative to policing.
Diversifying our leaders, donors, and volunteers to better reflect the vibrant identities of the youth we serve. We will shift the demographics of our board, beginning by creating more equitable opportunities for people of color to serve. We will explicitly ask Black and Latino foundations, corporations, and individual donors to strategize with us about ending the cycle of youth homelessness, and we willâ€¯purposefully share our service opportunities with Black and Latino led voluntary organizations, civic groups, and minority-serving colleges.
Conducting a thorough self-assessment of anti-racist practices and holding open forums with our chapters to discuss the results and ways to move forward.â€¯
Improving direct support to youth involved in law enforcement and court matters. We will begin by examining existing patterns of police contact in each of our programs and train for alternative solutions.
Reviewing our process of selecting vendors and choosing minority-owned businesses whenever possible.
These seven actions will be just the beginning.
If you already support our organization in some way, thank you. We hope our new commitments will encourage you to deepen your connections with us. If you are not a part of our work already, we invite you to join us any way that you can. Our local programs need your gifts of time, skill, or financial investment.
By addressing inequities within and outside of our organization, we can become better servants of youth and be better able to end the cycle of youth homelessness. We are so hopeful that a movement, not just a moment, is before us.
In solidarity with Black lives,
StandUp for Kids National Board of Directors