It's hard not to feel exhausted right now. All of us are nearly two years into this seemingly endless pandemic, which has not only taken the lives of more than 840,000 Americans but has also exposed the undeniable racial and economic inequalities that riddle our society.
I understand if you're tired — if you want to disengage, to stop reading depressing and infuriating news stories, to stop speaking up when you see injustices because the stream of distress and grief feels never-ending. I get it.
Change can feel impossible, but I've seen firsthand through our work at Stand for Children that it's not. In the last year alone, Stand volunteers organized parents, testified at school board meetings, knocked on doors, called and texted voters, and did whatever necessary to secure better futures for their children and others in their community. Stand families didn't give up because they knew it wasn't an option.
This is how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy lives on. Dr. King set the example for refusing to give up. He knew progress was possible, and he proved it's only achievable when you step up and do the daunting work instead of relying on others to carry that responsibility.
Stand has always sought to achieve high-quality education opportunities for all kids, but we recognize, as we always have, that there's more to ensuring generations of families have equal opportunities to succeed. Systemic racism infects beyond the classroom. That’s why we have updated our mission to explicitly name who we are and what we are fighting for.
From the federal level to the family level, we use every tool available to fight for outcomes that enrich the lives of students and their families. That includes:
- advocating for increased education funding generally and specifically to increase high school graduation rates and young people’s readiness for college and career
- partnering with more than 140 high schools in six states to boost graduation rates through the Center for High School Success and helping educators identify antiracist curriculum and build antiracist teaching through the Center for Antiracist Education, and
- reducing the reach and the harm of the criminal legal system by advocating to eliminate youth justice system fines and fees.
The solutions we champion are backed by evidence and the true experts — the parents, educators and others who are directly affected by the problems at hand.
We are all living through an unimaginable time. Every day feels like a new mountain to climb. But let Dr. King's words manifest brighter horizons: "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."
Join us in this struggle. Keep standing with the families who refuse to give up. And know you will not be alone on this journey for change.