Communities In Schools® (CIS™), the national organization that ensures every student, regardless of race, zip code, or history of marginalization has what they need to succeed in school and beyond, today issued the following statement:
“Yesterday morning our nation woke up to watch democracy in action. By day’s end, we were witnessing our democracy under threat.
The very sacred institutions of our country were attacked by people who carried weapons, as well as words and symbols of white supremacy into the halls of the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the foundations of our democracy. Those individuals claimed to have a legitimate grievance, but their actions were not about change. Instead, they were intended to paralyze our government and to silence the will of the people.
Their violence and intimidation was, in large part, fueled by incendiary rhetoric from the White House. Now, more than ever it is important for all our elected leaders to moderate their language. But it is just as important for them and for all of us not to remain silent about what is happening in this moment. The whole world is watching and listening. So too, are our children.
We owe our children something better than what they witnessed and something more than what they heard yesterday.
Last November, Communities In Schools® (CIS ™) told our young people that in America, every voice matters. And we reminded them that in an election, every vote counts. They watched as the ballots were fairly counted and understood that the majority spoke. Joe Biden is the President-elect.
Now we adults must reassure our youth that we are still a nation of laws and that our democracy still works. As one example, we can point to our members of Congress who, despite what transpired yesterday, returned to the people’s work and the people’s house to certify the election. Like them, we all must not be paralyzed nor frightened into inaction.
We often teach our children about the importance of resilience. We must convey to them that is what is going to be required for us to build and maintain a healthy democracy. It’s also what is necessary for us as a country to break down systemic barriers in our institutions that stand in the way of equitable outcomes for everyone.
But we also must tell our young people an uncomfortable truth. The calls for progress in this country will sometimes be met by reactionary behavior. It is our job, as the caring adults in their lives, to prepare them. Our youth need to understand what a peaceful and productive expression of opinion looks like in a democracy and be able to distinguish it from the voices of intimidation.
We also need to have courageous conversations with our young people, especially those who are Black, brown and indigenous, who saw something yesterday that reminded them that people of color can live in the same country as white people but with a different set of rules. They know that to be true because they experience hateful speech, unfair treatment and supremacist behavior in their own communities. We need to empower them to call out racial and social injustice, equip them to stand up for their rights and ensure that their voices are heard.
That is the work of Communities In Schools, and we cannot do it alone. We seek to make changes in our schools, our community and our society, so that all young people can reach their potential in school and beyond regardless of their race, zip code, or socioeconomic background.
We call on all our supporters, our partners, our elected leaders, business officials, and faith leaders to recommit to this work and to join us in speaking out forcefully in support of peace, justice, and democracy.
Now is the time for us to all come together and unite in support of a bright future for our country and our kids.”
Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,500 schools across the country, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential.