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Youth Transformed for Life – YTL

We have gems in our communities. Libby Kyles is one in Asheville. Not only is she a 5th grade teacher at Isaac Dickson (one of about 10 African American teachers in all of Asheville City Schools – ACS & ACSF have not been able to give me an exact number), she is also the co-founder of YTL – Youth Transformed for Life, among other ways she gives to this community. Please take a moment to read her words below. If you are looking for hope for our future, consider investing in opportunities for all youth to experience the richness of life.

YTLFrom Libby:

Having just returned from a DC trip with my fifth-graders, I know now more than ever how important it is that children of color get outside of the walls of Asheville and see other successful people of color and experience activities outside of their realm of knowledge. The African-American population in Asheville has decreased by half from a little over 12% to 6%. Our children are suffering and struggling through the public education system. I cofounded a nonprofit. Each summer we take participants who might not otherwise be able to take a week and go away to horseback riding camp or Clay making camp or soccer camp, and we provide for them eight weeks of enrichment using various activities such as therapeutic horseback riding, experiences with artist in residence, a continued partnership with Clay works in the River Arts District, and lots of other fun summer activities. This year we provided an afterschool program and would love to take seven amazing young men and women to Atlanta for three days of their spring break. Our youth need these opportunities!
For all the people who are asking what they can do this week to combat what’s happening with the presidency, who can we call and where can we march — consider making enrichment and summer fun for children of color in Asheville a part of your political agenda.
We are working really hard to provide opportunities of enrichment and to create programming that is consistent and follows them through the school year so that we can aid in their ability to advocate for themselves.
Consider sponsoring a student for the summer at $800, a week of camp at $2,000, or a hotel room stay at $180 per night. Whatever you choose to give, we will greatly appreciate it!

 

Donations are always welcomed – even if you’re reading this post much later than it was posted!!

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Our Land, Our Health, Our Economy – In the Hands of Oil Industry

This is not the water we want to give our kids to drink. It’s not the condition of the Earth we want to leave them to try and inhabit. This is greed and addiction and too many of us who are still too weak to face the oil dependencies we have and not yet courageous or creative enough to stand up to this monstrous industry and all the politicians who are being fed by its existence. I know we can do better, humans… but will we?

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Solutions from Young People

“To me it’s like … if we don’t try and go make that change, who’s going to do it?” – Denis Estimon

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White Supremacy is a Racial Hierarchy

 


WS1

Quotes from Desiree Adaway:

“White supremacy refers to a racial hierarchy in which whiteness sits at the very tippy top. This country was founded and built upon this system—legally, culturally, economically, and politically—of white male upper class supremacy. We want to believe that it only reflects extreme images of terrorist organizations like KKK members or the modern day Nazi movement.

  • This hierarchy manifests itself legally when the government finally admits that the war on drugs was created to bring down leaders and destroy communities of color- so they created sentencing guidelines to support this narrative.
  • This hierarchy manifests itself culturally through internal bias, assumptions and norms that teaches Black cultural is “bad” and white cultural is “good’. A black boy in a hoodie is a thug but a white boy in a hoodie is the next Mark Zuckerberg.
  • This hierarchy manifests itself economically by maintaining class inequalities by determining which neighborhoods are “good” or “bad” and determining which of these communities have access to housing loans and capital.
  • This hierarchy manifests politically when every President but one in our history has been white, male and upper-class. 

The word “racism” waters down this structural reality. Let’s call a thang, a thang. So call it what it is- white supremacy”

….

“Fear of onflict helps keep the status quo. The need to equate raising a difficult issue like white supremacy with being impolite or rude or out of line helps keep white supremacy securely in place. When people on the margins don’t speak in a language or tone that the dominant group finds acceptable they use that as an excuse to not address the issue at all. You have been fed the lie that you have the right to emotional and psychological comfort over my freedom from an oppressive system.”

WS2

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Segregated Schools and Inequality in Funding Is Destroying Us

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 12.30.14 PMFrom The Conversation I’m Tired of Not Having by 2016 National Teacher of the Year Finalist

“As a nation, we’re nibbling around the edges with accountability measures and other reforms, but we’re ignoring the immutable core issue: much of white and wealthy America is perfectly happy with segregated schools and inequity in funding. We have the schools we have, because people who can afford better get better. And sadly, people who can’t afford better just get less–less experienced teachers, inadequate funding and inferior facilities.

Middle class America would never allow the conditions that have become normalized in poor and brown America to stand for their kids.

The images coming out of Detroit Public Schools: buckled floors, toilets without seats, roaches, mold and even mushrooms growing in damp, disgusting, mildewy classrooms. Like the images of American torture and abuse last decade in Abu Ghraib, these images should have shocked the nation. Instead, they elicited a collective national shrug, stretch and yawn.

The View from the Burbs is Sweet. Through white flight and suburbanization, wealthy and middle class families have completely insulated themselves from educational inequality. They send their kids to homogeneous schools and they do what it takes, politically at the local level, to ensure they’re well-funded, well-staffed, with opportunities for enrichment and exploration.

I spoke to a veteran teacher (17 years in the classroom) from Maryland. Her school is located five miles from the nation’s capitol and in her career, she has never taught a white student. Never. Her county and its schools are completely segregated. We aren’t in this together.

“61% of Blacks, 55% of Hispanics support gov’t intervention to address school segregation. Vast majority of whites (72%) say nope!” They’re perfectly satisfied with situation as is.

Our most needy students need our best teachers, yet our highest need schools have the least experienced teachers, the most turnover and are becoming burnout factories for those who remain. All the existing structural incentives for effective educators push them toward work in suburban schools, where they’ll be better supported and the workload is sustainable. Nobody wants to talk about this.”

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Addressing Institutional Racism Or Not…

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 12.37.03 PMI highly encourage you to read this article by Korbett Mosesly. Especially if you work at a non-profit or organization that has a majority White leadership and cares about addressing racism.
10 Ways to Practice Institutional Racism at Your Non-Profit Organization

  1. Maintain White Leadership
  2. Frame the issues & lead the strategies for people of color.
  3. Limit partnerships with (and Feedback from) communities of color.
  4. Ignore complaints of bias and racism from workers and clients.
  5. Value credentials vs. the skills needed to serve diverse populations.
  6. Do not involve people directly impacted.
  7. White wash the diversity language.
  8. Maintain the social dynamic of white non-profit affinity groups.
  9. Exploit black clients in poverty.
  10. Offer cultural competency training every few years.
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Social Emergency Response Centers (SERC)

Yes. Yes. Yes. THIS!

 

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