On July 1, 2020, Ali Knight was appointed the new President and CEO of FLY after our Founder and CEO of 20 years, Christa Gannon, moved into a formal Founder role. He explains the focus of this new era at FLY: using our energy and resources, and lifting up the voices of our youth, to disrupt the pipeline to prison and help further bend the arc of the universe toward justice.
Minutes after FLY’s virtual CEO Transition ceremony, we sat down with Christa and Ali to hear their initial thoughts in their new positions along with their biggest takeaways since COVID-19.
On Wednesday, June 24, the Oakland Board of Educators voted unanimously to eliminate its police department. OUSD was the only district in the county with its own school police force. This victory was the culmination of years of work in the community with leadership from Black Organizing Project and the youth of Oakland. FLY’s Alameda County staff and youth strongly supported their work and contributed to the effort’s success.
FLY is honored to publish an open letter from June Wang, Vice Chair of our Board of Directors, about her perspective as an Asian American supporting the black community. She also includes a list of writings and references that have helped her learn about systemic racism.
FLY is unequivocally and unambiguously pro-Black in this moment. We acknowledge and support Black people who have been killed, who have lost family members and friends, who live in fear for their lives and the lives of others, who are protesting and risking their own safety, and others in their communities who are affected by police brutality.
Throughout my personal crusade for justice (and my journey into adulthood, too), I’ve often had to remind myself of this very famous quote by one of the great thinkers of all time. It is how I have allowed my rage and my passion for this work to fuel my efforts without feeling like I have to apologize for it—for being an “angry black man.” To that end, I am sharing it with you all in hopes that it helps you find some validation in your feelings, whether they may be a sense of sadness, frustration—or rage.