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The Voice of the Black Community

Opinion

Rebuild the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program
 
Published Sunday, March 31, 2019

To the Chapel-Hill Carrboro City School Board:

As youth-serving, community-based nonprofit organizations operating within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District area, we call on your leadership to prioritize rebuilding the capacity of the Blue-Ribbon Mentor Advocate Program (BRMA). We urge you to develop a community advisory council comprised of the students, recent alumni, parents, and stakeholders who reflect the communities this program is intended to serve.

Opportunity gaps stem from an inequitable distribution of resources. We are experiencing educational disparities associated with race/ethnicity and socioeconomics. When students are denied educational opportunities comparable to those afforded to their counterparts, the district’s achievement gap grows. Conversely, when acceptable and accessible opportunities to learn are easily available, students thrive and achievement gaps close (Welner & Carter 2013). Individually, we strive to sustain programs designed for those vulnerable to falling through the cracks of our social structures. Together, we are an interconnected family of community organizations.

Since 1995, BRMA has provided students with opportunities to access people, services, and experiences they may not otherwise have, the same may be said for the adult mentors. Through BRMA, students and mentors alike engage and build trust with our community programs. Chipping away at BRMA’s structure and resources create a ripple effect that incrementally impacts the students and families we prioritize.

On March 4, BRMA’s former director, Graig Meyer, posted an open letter to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community outlining a set of actions that have occurred. These actions clearly signal that BRMA program is being dismantled by the sum of its parts. We call on you to appoint a community advisory council empowered to rebuild BRMA to its optimal capacity.

In solidarity,

Youth Foward

Triangle Bikeworks

The Refugee Community Partnership

Youth Community Project-Reintergration Support Network

Art Therapy Institute

LatinxEd

Musical Empowerment

El Centro Hispano, Inc.

Family Success Alliance

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center

Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition

Kidzu Children's Museum

Michele Lynn Communications (and BRMA mentor)

 

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