Breakthrough at Kent Denver

Breakthrough at Kent Denver Stands With the Black Community

To our Breakthrough Denver Community,


We, at Breakthrough Kent Denver, stand in solidarity with the black community in Denver and across the country.


We stand with black men, women, and children as they protest police brutality, the lack of justice for this brutality, and a history of racist systems and laws that created the current environment. We are devastated by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd and the countless others that have come before. We are encouraged to see that the Colorado State Legislature has introduced a Police Reform Bill, but Colorado still has the fifth highest rate of officer involved shootings, and we know that the long-term effects of systemic racist practices like redlining in the Denver community are still very real today. We know supporting our students of color means having difficult and necessary conversations with our white staff and aspiring teachers about bias and structural racism. It is our priority that our black and brown students are able to not only be heard, but to simultaneously be seen. In a time where the racism and embedded systematic inequalities continue to be amplified, we, at Breakthrough Kent Denver, are committed to creating safe spaces for students and aspiring teachers to work towards healing, understanding social justice and taking action.


On Monday we will welcome our Teaching Fellows and begin our 26th summer at Breakthrough. Now, more than ever, we will create online spaces for our community to be together to grieve, grow, and challenge ourselves and our perspectives. We are an anti-racist organization that supports Black Lives Matter, and knows that Breakthrough students are disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and violence. We will support our students to bridge the opportunity gap, while ensuring that every aspect of our programming is embedded with anti-racist teachings.


In solidarity. Black Lives Matter.


Sarah, Brooke, Jhasmyne, and Parker

Message from the Breakthrough Collaborative:

We are part of a collaborative of 24 Breakthroughs across the country, and we would like to share the message sent by the CEO of the Breakthrough Collaborative as well:


Dear Breakthrough affiliate community, school leaders, and board members,


The Breakthrough Collaborative stands with our entire community in opposition to all forms of injustice and racism.


The prompt for this message, of course, is the series of horrific events – set in motion by the homicide deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others - that testify to this nation's persistent racism and embedded systemic inequities that disproportionately affect Black men, women and children.


These are Our Students, Our Teachers, Our Staff and Our Families. This trauma, despair and anger is a story that hits home and one we must address directly.


For more than 40 years, we have been a safe haven for under-resourced and minority youth who too often lack access to the supportive and secure communities, the role models, and the practical tools for accessing educational opportunities and achieving their goals. Without it, there can be no optimism for a better future.


Receiving this support must be the unequivocal right of every single child in the United States. We know you are with us in doing everything possible to make that happen.


Over the years, Breakthrough has become a formidable force, both on a national and local level, uniting individuals from every background imaginable, and creating, through you, immeasurably stronger, more diverse communities and leaders.


That diversity - and our widely varied personal experiences - manifests itself in emotional reactions that differ from individual to individual. Regardless, the shared experience of bearing witness to images that belie our progress and remind us of how far we still are from our goals draws us even closer as a Collaborative.


This summer, we will place an emphasis on making space for our students and teaching fellows to work towards healing, understanding social justice, and taking action.


At the same time, as a national Collaborative, we will redouble our efforts to speak out on, confront, and disrupt these unacceptable realities. There is a role for each one of us to play as we work together to amplify the impact of our legacy programs - one student, one teacher at a time - and innovate new solutions to systemic problems.


We’ve compiled a list of Race, Social Justice, and Equity resources for your use with students, teaching fellows, and staff.


As the National team, we will continue to push ourselves as allies, in partnership with students, families, staff, and communities in this very important work. We welcome leadership and collaboration and thank you for the front line work you are all doing to advance our mission and support our students in new ways this summer.


Sincerely,

Elissa Vanaver on behalf of the National Collaborative team