I know you share with me a deep anxiety, anger and disappointment after one of the worst weeks in our country’s recent history, certainly the worst in my memory. There are now over 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus, with the most severe impact on the elderly, essential workers, people of color, and the poor. There are tens of millions unemployed who are uncertain where to find their next job or the next meal for their families.
With our hearts and minds deeply troubled by the suffering from the pandemic, we bore witness to the horrific violent death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer, only the latest in a long line of such incidents.
What I find most troubling is the threat to the future, the threat that we will lose hope for progress, that we will fail to provide today’s youth with the means to move beyond the circumstances of their birth, that racism in all its subtle, suffocating forms will continue.
We need to renew our commitment to eliminate the bigotry and injustice that destroys the means to rise through generational poverty. NSLA’s work in promoting summer learning is an essential part of the solution.
This generation of children needs more investment, now, more than ever, to access the ladder of social and economic progress. Summer learning needs to be an essential part of the solution, along with affordable health care, childcare, and well funded public education in all communities.
In the past two months, as out of school time and remote learning have replaced classrooms, our work on summer learning is receiving renewed attention. It is a moment that can bring much needed support for the essential need for summer learning in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.
I do find inspiration in our work, that we can make a difference for this young generation, to give them hope for a better life. If we can make their hopes and dreams more attainable then we will have done some measure of good, helping to restore hope and dissipating the anger now on display in our communities.
My best to you and yours,
Jim Quinn, Board Chair
National Summer Learning Association