Today, in the year 2020, we find ourselves in a horrific and overwhelming time of violence, anger and loss. Instead of flying cars and teleportation devices, we are facing civil unrest reminiscent of the 1960’s. Incidents of violence and murder, involving Breonna Taylor, David McAtee (Kentucky), Ahmaud Arbery (Georgia), Shatina El (Michigan), and George Floyd (Minnesota) continue to visibly dehumanize members of the Black community and resurface our nation’s painful history with racial inequity. We are deeply saddened by these acts of excessive police force that prevail through a culture of white supremacy. These actions plant seeds of fear, hopelessness, and inferiority into the hearts and minds of our communities that do not align with 826michigan’s values .
826michigan creates equitable and inclusive spaces for students to develop their voices and tell their stories through writing. We stand in solidarity with our fellow students and staff at 826 MSP in South Minneapolis. We stand with Black students and colleagues in our own state, as well as community allies who peacefully protest and share the collective sentiment that Black Lives Matter.
As we watch uprisings expand from Minneapolis, across the United States, sparking a global outcry, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’ s words are still true—injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere. Fannie Lou Hamer made it more plain—nobody’s free until everybody’s free. The presence of recent events ultimately presents us all with a choice—a choice to create the world we want to see by using our voices and our actions. 826michigan is committed to actions that convey dignity and worth to all people.
For 15 years, 826michigan has provided safe spaces that allow students to confidently stand in the power of their stories. Today is no different. We will continue to live an ideology that goes beyond tolerance for diversity to one that models acceptance and love. As outlined in our Writing Core Values , we will facilitate spaces and opportunities for all students to:
- Tell their stories and express themselves.
- Use writing as a means to further personal understanding.
- Recognize writing as a tool to access power and build a better world.
As we sustain and strengthen our focus on equitable and inclusive spaces, our team is working to ensure that our program offerings are responsive to the needs of our communities. We acknowledge that we do not have all the answers, and as such, will co-create and co-facilitate programming with our network, volunteer corp, community leaders and organizations that have the expertise needed in this moment. To our students and families, know that we are here and desire to write a better future with you.
826michigan Staff and Board