Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Family,
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) wants to take the time to acknowledge all our volunteers and families for their resilience and unity during these times of healthcare uncertainty and societal unrest. Big Brothers Big Sisters wants you as well as the world to know that we as an organization denounce all racism, inequality, and police brutality.
At this historic moment, when change can be felt, what actions can Big Brothers Big Sisters take to strengthen and elevate our work with youth?
First, we must take every opportunity to continue to denounce racism, bigotry, inequality and prejudice. Defending potential means we openly and consistently address the systemic barriers children face. Racism is part of the trauma in many young lives. We must name it and act upon it every single day.
Second, we will create trainings for our volunteer Bigs and our BBBS staff members across the country so that they can be best equipped to talk to their Littles about this prevalence of violence and racism. We don’t want to compound trauma in our youth by being ill-equipped or misinformed on how to best support our Littles.
Third, this is an opportunity to examine and improve upon our Bigs with Badges program. This program is designed to develop strong one-to-one relationships between police officers and our Littles. The vision of the program is to provide a structure within our mission to help disarm bigotry, racism, and preconceived stereotypes at all levels. It is connecting police officers to the young people they serve, for a better appreciation of communities, families, and the adverse conditions many live with every day. In turn the Littles and their families have the opportunity to interact with a law enforcement officer outside of their duties and realize that they are normal, caring people who want to spread some good in the world. We are working on ways this important program can be improved and towards that end, we will examine how we can be advocates for change in our local communities and how this program can better serve young people.
Fourth, we will engage in a dialogue with each of our funding partners to ensure that our respective values on racial justice and equity are aligned. We are an inclusive and equitable organization that values everyone from our staff to board members, donors and especially volunteers, and Littles. Our partners must embrace the differences and the uniqueness of all people who will help support our organization in building bridges and igniting, empowering, and defending the potential of the youth we serve. All of us as human beings are works in progress; learning, evolving, and changing. We must leverage this moment in our nation’s history to make progress together.
This is just the beginning of what Big Brothers Big Sisters can accomplish. The list will expand as all of you, individually and collectively, add to the ideas that can be implemented. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As always, it is an honor to work with all of you. We have all been given this opportunity to lead and defend the potential of all youth, and to stand against racism, bigotry and prejudice to help make our country a place where there truly is liberty and justice for all.
Chief Executive Officer – Big Brother to Hyland since 2013