The last few weeks have been tough. In other years, around this time, we may have been focused on celebrating grads, starting summer schedules, and wrapping up our Mental Health Awareness events. This year we knew the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder needed to be remembered, honored, and serve as a call to action to continue to dismantle white supremacy and confront racism. Instead, our communities witnessed the deaths of 10 in Buffalo, New York, and deaths of 21 in Uvalde, Texas as well as others who were injured in hospitals and churches, and the additional trauma to surrounding family and communities.
We are reminding each other that we each need time to process and grieve these traumatic experiences; as individuals and as an organization that cares deeply about the issues affecting young people. We receive hundreds of messages a day, through email, social media, and the world around us. When those messages contain such traumatic news, during a time when we are still feeling the effects of COVID, the weight can feel overwhelming. Youth MOVE’s time processing these events has centered our desire to keep these real issues of racism, gun safety, and mental health front and center our attention, not just for a few days, for the long haul need to see real change.
As we fight and move forward to change systems, oftentimes life stops us to pause and look around us. We certainly feel that right now, and know it is ever more important to focus on mental health and advocacy for systems change. This is systems work, but it is human work, and we feel that right now. We hope you take the time you need to process and grieve.
Our hearts go out to the lives lost in recent tragedies and call on our partners and network to support youth and families in these difficult times.
Both rest and action are required of us.
- Legislative Advocacy – Mental health resources are needed to support children and youth who are experiencing the trauma of violence. Share your policy solutions for this and other issues you care about with these actions:
- Legislative Advocacy – Reach out to your representatives (state/national) and share what is most important to you to change. What policy solutions are needed? Be this about school climate, access to mental health resources, or violence prevention.
- Support to Peers – Reach out and ask your friends how they are doing – this goes for anyone. Sometimes we don’t see or know how certain events/news can affect others and may be looking to connect.
- Self-Care – Remember to find time to reflect, process, grieve, and rest. We wrote this “Self-Care Plans & Why They’re Helpful Right Now” blog in March of 2020, and yet, we find ourselves revisiting this need (from personal and social perspectives) in an ongoing way. So, take time off, visit a friend, sleep, and do what you need to do to recharge. It seems our batteries keep calling for usage more and more, and the reality of burnout and overwhelm can shift the focus to important self-care routines and reflections.
We have created a shared document with additional resources from our partners with a variety of topics and responses: 2022 – Youth MOVE National Crisis Response Shared Resources
As we continue to fight for youth voice and well-being, we will continue to model the way in which we are human in this work to pause, breathe, and process when hard things happen. We are with you, and we march on.