Together, with you, we are outraged and deeply hurt by the continued murder of Black men and women in our country. The recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are heartbreaking and rage-inducing. We mourn with you. We honor their lives by acknowledging and validating constructive civic action.

We know that systemic and institutional racism in this country has led to decades of inequity, negatively impacting Black people. We share in the frustration of those experiencing a constant onslaught of racial discrimination. We seek a solution that eradicates these systems and creates a new normal of equity and opportunity.

At Need in Deed, we know that there is hope for a new normal in the face of the struggle. Abolitionist teaching scholar and researcher Bettina Love tells us we must acknowledge and work toward healing racial trauma while also acknowledging joy found in Black communities and in the pride of being Black. In this way, we recognize the full humanity of Black Americans. This joy and struggle is in the beautiful faces and hearts of the over 3600 students and the nearly 150 teachers across Philadelphia with whom we work throughout the school year.

We believe that students should have an active voice in their community. Need in Deed students engage in youth-led organizing to address self-selected social issues. Many students recognize inequity and are affected by racism; year after year, multiple classrooms select these issues as their topics of study and conduct service projects to address related causes or effects. Need in Deed teaches students agency; they learn how to address issues they care about. Students take this agency beyond their classrooms into the world to build the equitable communities we seek. Our students are powerful and active citizens with valid voices.

Need in Deed remains committed to continuing our work with Philadelphia public schools and the communities they serve. We invite you to join us in thought and action as we work across racial and socioeconomic lines to build stronger communities.