A message from FLY’s President and CEO, Ali Knight, about the need for FLY to lean in and do even more work for justice.

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s been one full year since the initial shelter-in-place order went into effect here in the Bay Area (the first in the country!). I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for the support of our youth, staff, partners, and the rest of the FLY Family. In a year where sometimes all we could muster was a crawl, together we continued to move forward and persevere in the pursuit of justice.  

This remains a critically important time in our country and FLY is ready to lean in and do even more:

  • Evolution: As our communities reckon with the economic downturn, as well as the changing needs around youth services and community safety, FLY must continue to evolve in our mission delivery to rise to the occasion. How we approach fundraising to support our programs must adapt, too. Plus, as juvenile justice reform moves from new laws and policy to day-to-day practices in our communities, we must be ready to collaborate with our local systems to make sure policies are implemented in ways that are just, equitable, and reflective of youth voice.
  • Equity: Black, brown, and other youth of color continue to have disproportionate contact with the justice system along with LGBQ, gender nonconforming, and trans youth as well as youth with disabilities. The disproportionality has actually increased even as incarceration of youth has decreased. Therefore, our work (internally and externally) must reflect our commitment to addressing these inequities in the pursuit of justice.
  • Justice: “…Is what love looks like in public.” And here are some examples of how we can continue to spread love and advance justice through our direct service, community responsiveness, and systems change:
    • Community Safety: We’ve seen an increase in hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and we’re supporting our youth and families who feel threatened in their neighborhoods and schools. Together we will continue to support all youth of color, work to keep them safe, and denounce injustice and hate in all forms. 
    • Alternative to Over-Policing: In partnership with our youth and communities, we will continue supporting the efforts to eliminate SROs in schools to decriminalize the education experience for youth of color; and help push to fund programs and services instead of policing and oversight. 
    • Juvenile Justice Reform: We will continue to push for change and support movements such as Raise the Age of criminal responsibility and DJJ facility closures to respond to youth needs and keep youth out of adult prisons.

The work and needs of our youth and communities continue to evolve and so will we in the pursuit of justice. We are excited about the possibilities of this year and we appreciate your participation and support.