Goodman Community Center | From the Desk of Letesha Nelson

From the Desk of Letesha Nelson

Letesha hands the microphone to our teen staff.

April 29, 2021 |

In this letter, I handed the microphone to our incredible teen staff to talk about an important issue. - Letesha

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


Take a minute to read through the words to the right (the image is animated). These come from teens, right here on the north and east sides of Madison. What do you hear?

You’ve seen the news. Our Black, Indigenous, youth of color need our support, now, more than ever. They don’t feel safe in their own community, and yet, so many adults across the nation – and right here in our own community – see them as a threat, simply because of the color of their skin.

In a Community Chat hosted two weeks ago, Goodman CEO Letesha Nelson was joined by one of our TEENworks youth, Deejai, as well as two LOFT staff members, to talk about youth voice and social justice. In this conversation, Deejai asked the community to do something that’s such a simple concept:

“Don’t assume you know me. Get to know me.”

Simple, but we fail to do this every day. We’ve been guilty of it too. So today, we’re issuing a challenge to you that’s a little different from our usual requests. We're asking you to step up for our young people. All your life, you've been told that actions have consequences. Inaction has consequences too.

You want to help. We know you do. So we’ve thought through some ways you – the members of our community – can support our youth right now:

  1. Say hello. When you encounter kids in your neighborhood, particularly kids who don’t look like you, engage with them. It can be a small gesture, like giving them a wave as they walk by. That small gesture will start to let these young people know they’re a part of our community.
  2. Remember: They’re human beings. These young people are unique individuals with something to add to our community. They're not threats.
  3. Speak up. There are so many great ways to share information online, but the most impactful conversations happen in person. When your family, friends, coworkers are using blatantly bigoted language or coded terms, say something. We owe it to our kids to use our voices to stand up when we hear something that doesn’t sit right.
  4. Get involved. As an adult member of our community, you have the ability to influence change in a way that our youth can't yet. Engage with groups in town that offer learning opportunities on how to get involved in making systemic change, like Urban Triage, YWCA and many others in town. Vote for people who are committed to doing the work to better our community today so our kids can worry about the only thing they should have to worry about: being kids.

Our teens are scared, but they’re also so hopeful about their futures. We’re lucky to see that every day and to see the potential each one of these youth have. With your help, we can make this community a little safer for young people and their families.

With love,

Lussier LOFT Teen Center Staff

Goodman Community Center

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