Sasha Bruce

We stand with you.

by Debby Shore, Founder and Executive Director

I am reaching out today because I am outraged and hurt by all of what is going on in our country and because I need to say to you, our Sasha Bruce staff that your life and health  matter deeply to me and to our sacred mission and that I recognize and see the pain, rage and fatigue for the injustices that Black Americans have and do endure.   

With all of my heart, I stand with everyone who wants to see massive change in this country. Nothing is more important. 

In these past days, I been pondering long about what to do to impact the structural racism of our country which has been so utterly persistent. It has been sometimes hard to think clearly because of being sick at heart or angry or confused.  

But I have come to this truth… that it is in our collective wisdom that solutions are to found and to bring those forward. Our action is essential.  

The  murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others in a long line, along with a President who believes white supremacists can be good people, the pandemic and the economic downturn with their inequitable consequences, has created an inflection point. And the demonstrators, with whom I stand, are keeping the intensity and urgency at the center of public discourse.  

It is particular outrageous that the President ordered federal law enforcement and military police to assault peaceful protesters and clergy exercising their constitutional rights for a photo opportunity.  Two of our young people were harmed in this action and I am organizing legal help for them and our wonderful staff are supporting them emotionally.  

I want everyone to know that Sasha Bruce firmly believes Black Lives Matter, and I support you and any of our young people who wish to join into the peaceful protests.   

But these times also call for us to do more in our own house. Sasha Bruce has long been on the front lines of providing critical alternatives for young people where societal structures have failed… particularly for black Americans. We have not bought into pathologizing poverty or trauma. We have created an approach which helps young people see they have power and agency in their own lives though the world does not. 

But the question now is what more can and should we be doing to help deconstruct the world, heal from racial trauma and contribute to positive social change.   

I know I want Sasha Bruce to be a place where healing occurs including racial healing. There is good work going on in other places that we can learn from on this. I know that I want Sasha Bruce to be a place which supports social justice changes in the structures of our society… in policing, in the courts, in opportunities for housing and careers.   I want Sasha Bruce to help young people become independent, civically engaged so they can become the leaders of a future of greater equity.   

These times seem biblical to me with consequential and large seismic changes. To meet these challenges, Sasha Bruce needs to become a stronger learning community so as to utilize the lessons we learn for the greater good.  

In the coming days, I will initiate and join a number of conversations with staff members and young people about how build our way to becoming a community where racial healing is possible and where we clear about how we are advancing  justice and change.  I hope you will join me as I/we truly need your wisdom, experience, and leadership.  

I think it is a wonderful idea to organize our own demonstration where staff and youth can give expression to their perspectives. And then get to the hard work about how to move ourselves to our higher purpose.  

Thank you for all you do every day to serve and be a member of the Sasha Bruce community.  You are amazing.