It is with a heavy heart that I write this month’s letter. Once again a black man has been gunned down by law enforcement and a mother, brothers, family, and community lament the loss of a black life. Walter Scott was fatally shot by a North Charleston police officer on April 4th after a routine traffic stop. His shooting, caught on videotape has once again made America –and the world – absorb the painful truth that racism is alive and well.
During the 50th Anniversary of Selma, I am struck at how history continues to repeat itself. Then, television cameras awoke the national consciousness to racial injustice; now, a cell phone video undisputedly underscores the growing cry that #blacklivesmatter. So now it is on us who were not born when our predecessors marched in Selma to determine how we will fight this generation’s battle for justice.
Some of you may participate in marches such as the upcoming Justice League’s historic March2Justice walk from New York to DC, others will attend local protests, participate in critical dialogues online and in person, and contribute to grassroots efforts. I, of course, am so proud of those who have chosen to fight for justice through joining the Urban League Movement. I am pleased that so many of you have added your voices, time and talent to further the work of the Young Professionals and the local affiliate.
This past March was another example of the impact and importance of the work of the New York Urban League Young Professionals. Young Professionals participated in developing our media strategy and chaperoning both our Young Men and Young Women’s Empowerment Days. These events engaged almost 200 young people in career exploration with a focus on STEM. The Young Professionals also organized their first Leadership Dialogue with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and hosted the 5 Borough Service Day. This incredible day of service has grown each and every year, with more young professionals providing food preparation, workshops and hand-on assistance across the Big Apple . I encourage you to continue actively working on behalf of our communities.
Although my heart is heavy I remain hopeful. So many of us have been blessed with education and resources beyond anything our grandparents could have imagined, still too many in our communities struggle daily. It is our privilege and responsibility to give back in whatever way we can as often as we can. I hope you will join us.
President and CEO