January 7, 2021

Dear BBBS of NYC Community,

This is not the New Year’s message that I hoped to send you, but given the violent events that transpired yesterday in our nation’s capital, I am compelled to reach out to this important community and condemn the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol – the very center of our democracy.

In June 2020, I wrote to you in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery saying, “the next generation of leaders – our Littles, our youth, my children – do not need us to chart their path forward, but rather pave a new one.”

Today, I believe that idea continues to hold true. Our next generation of leaders is watching. They saw the mismatched response of law enforcement to the terror yesterday’s insurrectionists created and the fierce desire of some Americans to act hatefully to preserve inequity. They listened to the rhetoric used by representatives of our nation’s highest levels of leadership. They bore witness to the graphic images covered live on news channels and absorbed the social media and internet reactions. There is no question that our youth are always watching attentively.

Our youth will follow our example as we respond to this latest moment in a series of unimaginable ones. What we saw on January 6th emphasized that words matter. What we say and how we say it has the power to incite consequential actions. Therefore, we have a great responsibility to engage our young people in dialogue, seek their thoughts, honor their perspectives, reflect on their opinions, and encourage them to civically engage. We must also ensure that we not only channel the power of our words, but also our actions to advance justice, preserve our freedoms, and protect the democratic process.

As we continue to heal from last year’s pain and process the insurgency that occurred just six days into the new year, BBBS of NYC remains a stalwart partner and resource for our community. Our staff and I are deeply committed to each of you now and always. Please reach out if there is anything we can do to support you. Together, we will put our youth first with the vision to build a much more perfect Union worthy of our young people's promise and potential.

With hope,

Alicia D. Guevara,

CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC

 

Resources

We Are Teachers: Talking to Students About the Attack on the Capitol

National Geographic: Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol

National Education Association: How to Talk to Kids About the Chaos at the Capitol

Huffington Post: How to Talk to Kids About Scary News