At Summer Search, we designed our Black Lives Matter Community Series to come together to heal, learn together, and discuss how we all can take action to create a world where all young people can thrive.
Our first session, a Community Healing Vigil, filled our hearts with hope.
Our second session focused on education and attracted external experts who provided us with critical answers to poignant questions.
Our third session offered ideas and strategies from the fields of education and psychology on how to move forward towards a just and equitable society.
As we conclude the series, we thank each and every one who joined us in community as we came together in this moment. We invite you to read some of the remarks, resources, and highlights from the past few months.
1. HEARTBROKEN BUT HOPEFUL
Marc Spencer — CEO
“Recent events across the nation have left Black people feeling bereft, angry, and overwhelmed. But we also feel empowered to take action, empowered to figure out how we can use our collective wisdom, talent, and treasure to create the change we all need and rightfully deserve.”
Adebola “Debbie” Aderinto — Philadelphia Alumna & Boston Board Member
“Black people in this country have been subjected to indignities on a daily basis, whether at work, in public, going for a jog, being in central park, in every facet of society. The way we can begin to undo some of the damage is by examining our actions and how that plays in the interconnectedness of our society.”
Daijon Jackson — Bay Area Student
“With all of that I ask, with hesitation in my voice, a shake in my palms, and pain in my eyes, is there hope?”
Sheakira Perry-West — New York City Mentor
“I can’t get the images of pleading lifeless Black bodies out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, and every other Black man and woman I love and care for. I can’t stop repeating the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ and vividly imagining what that feels like because that could have easily also been me.”
Ekua Monkah — Seattle Alumna
“The public lynching of Black bodies has become an essential chapter in United States history, yet I continue to be in denial each time it happens. As a young Black woman going through all these emotions, I plan to channel them into revolutionary ideas and actions.”
Alex Oliva — Volunteer
From his original song, written for Summer Search:
“A nation divided once again,
There’s hate in some hearts which see no end.
A people oppressed for far too long,
The hate’s gotta stop, love’s gotta stay strong.
We just need some love.
We need love, we need hope.
We need peace, a sweet relief.
We need love, the hate’s gotta stop.”
Teke Kelley — National Board Chair
“We refuse to let Summer Search students be defined by the racism that is so deeply entrenched in our society. Each Summer Search student is an agent of change, and not just for themselves, but for their families and their communities as well.”
2. AN INFLECTION POINT IN HISTORY
Hermese Velasquez — Boston Executive Director & Alumna
“Today is about learning and reflecting, two key components of our work here at Summer Search. We are a learning organization and self-reflection is a part of our DNA.”
Blair Taylor — Partner, Workforce of the Future, PwC US
“The one-two punch of the death of Mr. Floyd and COVID-19 has shifted the ground beneath our feet… It’s a unique era for the people of this country, but it’s also a unique era for corporations and businesses.“
Daria Torres — Managing Partner of the Walls Torres Group & Lead Author of The Equity Maturity Model
“But this time does feel different. Monuments are being toppled, confederate flags are being banned, corporations are committing millions to Black-led and Black-serving organizations, with some going as far as to issue statements disavowing white supremacy culture. And communities that previously have remained silent or on the sidelines, are finally coming forward in solidarity to say, ‘enough is enough’.”
Pamela Lehrer — Philadelphia Board Chair
“I believe we are at an inflection point in our history, where real change can happen. But I believe it will take not only People of Color standing up for justice and equality, I believe it will also require White people to truly commit to the lifelong work of becoming anti-racist.”
3. OUR WORK HAS JUST BEGUN
AK Clemmons — Independent Journalist
“We really need much more diversity in these leadership positions — in media, in journalism, in sports. It’s wonderful that athletes are speaking out, but we shouldn’t have to rely on athletes alone. We need people in these positions of decision-making, of hiring, of storytelling [to have] full diversity in order to really understand all these stories.”
Dr. Angela Jackson — Partner, New Profit & Summer Search Boston Board Member
“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of this country. Entrepreneurs literally employ over 40% of Americans. 99.9% of businesses are small businesses that are led by entrepreneurs… That’s why it’s so important when we’re thinking about entrepreneurship, that we talk about and tackle systemic racism and the Racial Equity Gap.”
Kris Leja — Bay Area Executive Director
“Our young people continue to persevere and are incredibly resilient, and even that resilience has limits. Which is why all of us in the Summer Search community must be sure that we are vocal advocates for justice and change.”
Mohamed Abdi – Seattle Student
Mohamed, a Summer Search Seattle post-secondary student, co-produced and narrated this short documentary called “Surviving the Movement,” an amazing piece on mental health and the Black Lives Matter movement.
You can bring home a piece of our Black Lives Matter Community Series! Visit our website to learn how you can receive a print of one of our event illustrations, created live during the events by visual communication artists, The Sketch Effect.
Stay tuned for what’s next here at Summer Search.