Like most of you, I have been reflecting on events happening in our country. It’s been particularly difficult to witness the intense grief and outrage caused by the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Along with other Americans, I watched the subsequent protests that embody the physical acknowledgement of unrest and unfairness in our country.

Watching the pain and suffering that is felt across the nation is hard. But what is even harder is that this pain and suffering have been felt by so many members of our African American community for hundreds of years. Living through a pandemic and civic unrest is troubling for all of us, but for our African American community, the times have been troubling for a very long time.

Is there any light in all of this darkness? In some communities, police are joining citizens in protest. Families are cleaning up areas that have been vandalized. People across the world are praying and working for peace.

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As the CEO of a youth-serving organization, I keep a close eye on our children and how they react to current events. What do they think? How are they feeling? How will these events affect them in the long run?

I hope they will see the value in helping others. I hope they see the value in listening to others. Most importantly, I hope they see each man, woman, and child as a human being who has rights that need to be respected and upheld. I hope our youth spend their days building people and their communities up with respect to all members of society.

With little consolation, I offer my sincere condolences to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and countless others who have suffered similar injustices. I hope and pray that by working together and acknowledging the inequities in our country, we can find a way to heal, change, and move forward to make the world a better place for all Americans.