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FLY’s Work Matters Now More Than Ever

A message from FLY’s Board of Directors to extend their solidarity and support in these trying times. 

We recognize that the road to racial justice for our Black and Brown communities feels incredibly long. And while we are all relieved that accountability has finally been served in the Derek Chauvin verdict, we are painfully aware that it is still all too rare. Accountability should be expected, not hoped for.  

The verdict also does not come close to mitigating the loss of George Floyd’s life and countless others at the hands of police officers. While one man has been held accountable for his actions, the culture, organizations, policies, and systems that allowed his actions still remain. And so we see the continual loss of life: Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Ma’khia Bryant, and others. This is all the more painful because they are so much like the young people that FLY works with.

It is easy to lose hope at this time. And while we have no easy answers, what we do know is that the work of FLY — the work that each and every one of you does matters now more than ever. By supporting young people to build the skills they need through our Law, Leadership, Reentry, CAFA, Middle School, and STAY FLY programs — FLY’s everyday work is showing them that their lives have enormous value and potential to benefit not just themselves and their families but our communities. There is no more important work than this.  

But our youth deserve to thrive and to not live in fear, and in order to do so, the systems desperately need to change. We are fully committed to the systems work that FLY has begun and will continue through Imagine 2030. We are incredibly proud of the increasing role of FLY’s young people in changing systems, from involvement in Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and the movement to remove police from schools in several of our communities — which directly addresses the issue of police presence and violence — to the Youth Advisory Councils in Santa Clara and Alameda counties. We believe bringing the voices of youth with lived experience to the table is one of the most important things FLY can do to change systems. 

As a Board, we are committed to raising funds for this work through the Justice Prevails Fund.  We plan to establish a policy committee to support FLY’s systems change efforts and, in the interim, our executive committee has met numerous times to weigh in on state legislation that might lead to some of the changes we all hope to see. We acknowledge some progress in the California legislature and will work with FLY staff to see it through.  

There is more we can do but know that we are committed to FLY’s evolution from service to some to justice for all, now more than ever. We have your back. We hear the anger and frustration. And we will do this work alongside you and our youth. Stand strong knowing that you are surrounded by a community of Board members, volunteers, donors, and partners that care deeply about you, our young people, and justice.  

Until justice prevails…
Your FLY Board

Diana Bell
Meera Chary
Gordon Davidson
Robert DeJesus
Mark Donnelly
Stuart Lee
Kristin Major
Joan Malcolm
Donna Petkanics
Melynnie Rizvi
Ulrico Rosales
Patrick Tondreau
June Wang
Dick Watts
DeAnn Work