Why Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills Embraces Black Lives Matter

For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs have enabled young people to achieve great futures through our mission: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential. This mission and our core beliefs fuel Boys & Girls Clubs’ commitment to promoting safe, positive and inclusive environments for all – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, socio-economic status or religion. As the leading youth development organization, serving 4.6 million youth annually at 4,700 Clubs in communities across the country, Boys & Girls Clubs stand in service to our mission and in partnership with the youth we serve, in our assertion that Black Lives Matter.

It is our responsibility to commit to equity in clear, bold ways and to eradicate anything standing in the way of realizing our mission. Against the backdrop of recent incidents, we must acknowledge that opportunities are not equal for all, and that significant and sustained change is required. Systems, policies, practices and ideologies continue to disadvantage, discriminate and disempower, for many people, based on race, ethnicity or socio-economic status. For far too long, systemic barriers, bias and anti-Black racism have resulted in social, political, health and economic inequities. To advance our mission for youth, we must take action to advance racial equity for the Black youth, families and communities we serve.

When we say Black Lives Matter, we are speaking our commitment to the Black youth, families and communities we serve. We are:
• Asserting that we will talk about race and racism, and not ignore or minimize the pain and trauma experienced by Black people as a result of historic and present injustices.
• Challenging any idea, policy or practice that dehumanizes, degrades or questions the inherent value of Black people.
• Supporting policies, practices, partners and initiatives that create equitable opportunities for Black people and speaking out against those that exclude, disadvantage or harm Black people.

Our use of Black Lives Matter is not an endorsement of an organization, personality, policy or political party, nor is it an exclusionary statement. We say Black Lives Matter to refute notions of racial hierarchy and affirm our commitment to equity for Black people, in service to our mission to enable opportunities for every young person.