I'd like to share the message Youth Collaboratory put out recently to fellow, white Executive Directors. Youth Collaboratory "opposes all forms of racism, recognizing that the total power of authentic youth voice cannot fully be harnessed until systems of oppression are completely dismantled."
"It has been a few weeks since the murder of George Floyd. Since that time many of us have been responding with compassion, hope, and advocacy for change. We live in urban, tribal, suburban, and rural communities. We serve youth experiencing and at-risk of homelessness, system-involvement, exploitation, trauma, and death. We are a community and we represent the community in our diversity, locations, religious, and political beliefs. We dare to do our work every day in the midst of the struggle for equity.
Some of us enjoy the very privilege that we are fighting against. The power and privilege that comes with our positions also comes with a responsibility to pull away from moderation at this moment and double down on anti-racism.
For too long, as a sector, we have fueled moderation out of fear. The fear of not having enough resources to sustain our organizations; fear of conflict - especially with funders and board members; and fear of lobbying or anything that could be considered political. This fear often results in moderation and active avoidance of conflict. This moderation perpetuates a culture of white supremacy.
Working towards racial equity and engaging in anti-racism requires some really hard conversations. It's grueling, uncomfortable, and emotionally laborious. It’s also important and needed.
At Youth Collaboratory, our membership serves youth that are predominately Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who come from diverse communities that have and continue to suffer from systems of oppression. From juvenile lockup to broken education systems. From lack of transportation to community violence. From underfunded post-secondary schools to lack of response to trauma. The youth we serve and many of our staff face this oppression every day.
Many of our brothers and sisters are exhausted from this fight and the last few weeks have taken its toll not only on those we serve, but also our staff and the entire community.
Those of us who have had the privilege and power on which to rest all of this time must step up and step in.
Megan Blondin - Executive Director
Daniel Pfarr - Board of Directors, Chairperson"
For over thirty years, CEO Dan Pfarr has been on the front lines of the human services community, working to lift-up youth, adults, and families in crisis. His focus on trauma-informed care helps shape the direction of 180 Degrees and inspire a team of nearly one hundred employees. As a multi-cultural organization with staff and clients who have suffered a life of prejudice and inequality, 180 Degrees continues prioritizing discussion and action against a system of racial injustice.