George Floyd’s death has ignited a fire in America. The tinder, however, fueled by the deaths of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin, among others, has been gathering for years and has slowly bled into the fabric of our society. As painful as this is, we know that Black Americans do not mourn these losses alone. They never have. But there’s been little call to action. The fact that a movement had to be started to simply state that ‘Black Lives Matter’ is telling of how far we have to go as a country to address the years of avoiding the pains of our past. The impetus for change is in each of us.
Razing the Bar (RTB) welcomes the opportunity, and accepts the responsibility, to do our part in continuing to make positive and equitable contributions to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our community. Our mission is to support current and former foster youth. Ensuring that youth have a voice at the table, and equally as important, understand the value of continuously advocating for systemic change.
If we can each individually make that pledge for change things will get better. They won’t get better if we don’t.
Although the underpinning tenets of racism in American culture aren’t going to disappear overnight, people are changing. Society has come a long way. It’s deep rooted systems change that needs to be addressed. While RTB is intentional in providing our youth an accurate portrayal of American society, and providing them with real world tools on how to navigate a framework that doesn’t always include them, we also know things can’t improve without them demanding to be included. Self advocacy is paramount to our mission. Everyone must have a voice. Experience has taught us that when a young person feels they have a voice – it leads to feelings of acceptance and belonging – which, in turn, are the building blocks of success.
RTB provides comprehensive mentorship and housing support services to current and former foster youth, as well as other under resourced youth populations. The focus on relationships between mentors and the respective youth is our impetus for modifying behaviors, increasing relational networks and sustaining improved outcomes. Unlike many existing programs, when a youth is accepted into RTB for mentorship and support services the relationship does not end once the youth ‘completes’ the program. Once a program participant has been connected with RTB, we consider that connection permanent – similar to the lifelong connections made in a fraternity or sorority.
Together, RTB and our youth will continue building the path to success. Your contribution will support the housing, educational, and essential needs of former foster youth and foster youth in transition.