Right now, we are reading and hearing hundreds of statements and individually and collectively wrestling with our words and emotions. Scholars – I decided to write my statement directly to you. I write to say that you are on our minds and hearts and to shout that Black Lives Matter!
The brutal killing of George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown Jr. (of Ferguson, Missouri) and many others before, was an inhumane and deplorable act that illuminates decades of systemic inequity that exists and how much work must be done. We all – of every race and creed – individually and collectively, hold responsibility for doing that work.
We are heartbroken by how our Scholars of color and their families are impacted every day by racism and discrimination, and with the killing of George Floyd – on the heels of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our Black community.
Scholars, you are of all races and ethnicities – with 75% identifying as individuals of color and 32% as Black. All Scholars – KC Scholars supports you! You are an important part of our region’s future! You are our current and future leaders! We believe in you! You earned your scholarship – through a very competitive process! Your dreams are important to us! We know you will succeed – you already are successful! We love that you want to give back to and change your community! We respect the dignity and humanity of each of you! We are inspired by your goal to be role models for your family and community! If you stand for inclusivity and social justice for all, we stand with you and for you!
KC Scholars does not condone words and actions that dehumanize, discriminate, devalue, or harm members of our Black community.
KC Scholars is a driver of positive systemic change in our regional community and for our Scholars. KC Scholars is a fair and equitable scholarship and college support program which opens wide the doors of opportunity to a higher education – doors that were closed to Blacks just 59 years ago.
As an organization that embraces equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, we commit to and take responsibility for the following on behalf of our Scholars, Scholars’ families, and our community:
1) Stand up and speak out when we see injustice.
2) Continue to drive fair and equitable systemic change via postsecondary educational opportunity for all, and particularly for those that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.
3) Have a diverse board and staff that is representative of Scholars and the community.
4) Examine our practices and policies and lay bare and act to rectify any organizational implicit bias that exists.
5) Commit to continued self-exploration among our team on issues of race, equity, and social justice and ensure that our team’s actions and interactions are socially just and inclusive.
6) Act to ensure that none of our Scholars feel “other” or “less than”.
7) Conduct ongoing assessments of how we are doing on the goals stated above and hold ourselves accountable to do our work and continually ask how/what we can do better. We commit to sharing our concrete action steps and results on an ongoing basis to hold ourselves accountable and invite you to do so.
Scholars, we are committed to fully realizing what KC Scholars was designed to stand for and deliver.