Youth center says Black Lives Matter
To the editor:
We, the board and staff of the Saranac Lake Youth Center, support the Black Lives Matter Movement. We grieve with the family of George Floyd and so many others who have lost their lives to racial violence, and we are encouraged by so many who are peacefully demonstrating for equal justice, not only in America but also around the world, and in our community.
While it is ideally true that all lives matter, what is equally true for people of color in our country is that their lives matter less. In other words, all lives cannot matter until black and brown lives matter. All lives cannot matter until there is true equality among all people.
If all lives mattered, we would not see the evident disparities in the lives of people of color when compared to white Americans such as:
¯ poorer health outcomes as revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, where both the mortality rate and the illness rate for those of color is significantly higher
¯ significantly higher rates of opioid addiction decimating lives and families
¯ significantly higher incarceration rates
¯ fewer educational resources provided to the schools of children of color
¯ significantly higher poverty rate.
If all lives mattered, we would not be seeing the significant rise of hate crimes against those who are seen as different racially or those who worship in a manner different from our own. It’s not “white America” that worries about their safety just to take a walk, to birdwatch in a park or to interact with police.
Systemic changes are called for in all sectors of our society. These changes start at home and within oneself. Children are our future, and they can be taught inclusion, acceptance and fairness. The Saranac Lake Youth Center will be part of the solution. We denounce prejudice, racism, intolerance and all other forms of discrimination. We are reviewing our own actions and biases to reflect our commitment to end racism and encourage our youth to do so as well. We are all #StrongerTogether. We are America.
Aleacia Landon, director, Saranac Lake Youth Center, and the SLYC Board of Directors