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A Message from PEAK on Racial Justice

We at PEAK have been outraged and deeply saddened by the recent killing of George Floyd and the many others in the headlines, whose memories serve as a stark reminder of the systemic racism that continues to pervade our society. We stand in solidarity with our scholars and alumni for whom this outrage and sadness is too familiar. In this critical moment, we strongly affirm what we have always known: you matter. Black lives matter.

Since 1998, PEAK has worked every day to provide quality education and caring mentorship to Black and Brown youth from Chicago’s most under-served neighborhoods - specifically, those who lack access to comparable opportunities because of their average academic performance when they come to us. We do this because we believe that increasing educational access is critical to achieving social and racial justice. Educational equity requires not only access to a high school diploma but also to the social capital and the ongoing support that PEAK mentoring provides.

To counter the crushing effects of systemic racism, America has work to do. PEAK is dedicated to doing our part by effectively serving our mission, listening to our community, and seeking opportunities to reflect and improve on our practices and program offerings. We acknowledge that there is much more we can and must do at PEAK to be part of the solution.

To that end, we commit to:

● redouble our efforts to include more Black and Brown leaders throughout our organization;
● engage external partners to guide anti-racism efforts with the PEAK staff and Board, to ensure that everyone associated with PEAK has the tools necessary to recognize and help eradicate any form of racism within our organization;
● develop additional programming and resources for PEAK mentors on effectively navigating cross-cultural mentoring relationships;
● create additional avenues and opportunities for PEAK scholars and alumni to offer their voices at PEAK as young leaders with first-hand experience with the challenges facing Chicago’s Black and Brown communities;
● create additional avenues and opportunities for PEAK mentors to offer their leadership and diverse voices within PEAK;
● work hand in hand with our educational partner, Holy Trinity High School, to foster ongoing opportunities for dialogue on racism, identity, and justice within our community;
● continue to faithfully serve our mission, providing life-changing opportunities for Black and Brown youth from some of the toughest neighborhoods of Chicago.

In this moment of pain for so many, but also of hope for a brighter future, we join the growing number of individuals and organizations that have been inspired to take new actions to fight racism. We look forward to working together with our scholars, mentors, alumni, and partners throughout the city to build toward our shared vision of an America that protects and supports all of its people.

On Behalf Of PEAK,

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