There is an undeniable link between youth homelessness and institutionalized racism. We are a country that has disenfranchised communities of color, limiting their economic viability and access to opportunity through a system of laws and policies. Systems of oppression that steal childhoods from youth of color who are pushed out of schools and into the prison pipeline while simultaneously taking fathers from families through mass incarceration. Systems that conspire to create high levels of homelessness among young people and families of color.

YouthCare stands in solidarity with the Black community, with Black Lives Matter, and with all of those protesting in our city—and across the country—for justice.

Photo: Seattle Met

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade. These are four names on the long list of unarmed Black people murdered at the hands of police and racist vigilantes. They are four names in a four-hundred-year history of state-sanctioned violence and oppression against Black people in this country. Say their names.

People are marching in our streets against institutionalized racism, against consistent and systemic violence against Black people, against over 100,000 lives lost in a pandemic that disproportionately kills people of color, against white supremacists who have infiltrated protests to incite race wars. Fury, pain, despair—the trauma of racism runs centuries deep.

We ask you to join us and do more than what is easy or familiar in ending youth homelessness and dismantling institutionalized racism.  To educate yourself about racism in America. To support Black-owned businesses. To donate to bail and bond funds. To advocate for police accountability and criminal legal system reform. To demand justice for the lives that have been taken.

Let us not forget the name of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed Black man who was killed by a White police officer in 2014, and whose death ignited protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the country. Yesterday, Ferguson elected Ella Jones, the first female and first Black mayor in its history.

Protests affect change. So does the ballot ​box. Vote in November 2020.