They Are Not Too Young To Talk About Race

Dear MML Community Members,

Mentor Me Learning has been listening, reflecting, and asking ourselves what new actions we can take to address the systems of injustice that exist within our own community. These are three things that we consistently ask our students to do and must now ask ourselves as parents and educators to do.

As we watch protests and uprisings around the nation, our team at Mentor Me Learning is constantly torn between heartbreak and hope. HEARTBREAK for the unjust murders of our black community and the violent suppression of peaceful protests. And HOPE for the courage, bravery, and grassroots organizing happening in diverse communities across the country.

Now more than ever, Mentor Me Learning’s mission of supporting youth changemaking and social innovation is needed in our communities. Mentor Me Learning’s number one goal has always been to help young people be their best selves, connect with community organizations, and to be empowered to act. Something that our neighborhoods are in extreme need of right now.

I recently attended a student-led protest in support of justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. It reminded me of why I am so committed & determined to ensure that Mentor Me Learning grows & expands.

At this student-organized protest near the campus of Huntington Beach High School I was surrounded by articulate, organized, and passionate young people who were prioritizing civics and sharing their own vulnerable stories over other teenage day-to-day activities – like gaming or going to the beach. It was amazing. It inspired me. It humbled me to the power, intellect, and capacity of our upcoming generations.

Young people are hungry to make a change in the world. Hungry to be leaders. They are sick and tired of being told by our schooling system to wait. It is making them depressed and anxious. They want to be changemakers and social innovators now. And this is what Mentor Me Learning trains them and mentors them through – the process of becoming an agent of change in their own neighborhoods.

While we have had to cancel our summer programming due to funding and Covid-19, we are committed to moving forward with our Fall Leadership Program and providing digital resources to our community of parents, youth, and educators.

In order to support you and your children over the summer, we are including some of our favorite educational resources below. Resources you can use yourself or with your kids. Resources that we at Mentor Me Learning will be using to learn, evolve, and figure out how we, alongside our students, can become our best selves, connect with community organizations and be changemakers in our neighborhoods.

Good to Watch and Learn:

· Explaining Systemic & Institutional Racism

· Conversations Black Parents Are Forced to Have With Their Young Children

· What does it mean to defund or abolish the police?

Good to Read and Learn:

· Talking with Children about Race, Police Brutality and Protests

· What Students are Saying About the George Floyd Protests

· History of Segregated Schools in Orange County

· White Privilege Invisible Knapsack

Good Collections or Guides to Learn:

· A guide of how to talk your young child about issues of social justice

· A 4-part FREE online course for young people ages 12 – 18 on the history of policing

· A Summer Virtual Program (June/July) with Close UP DC for Middle and High School Students. Apply soon!

· Youth Service and Action Series

Local Orange County Organizations Supporting Anti-Racism Actions:

· OC Human Relations

· Black Lives Matter Long Beach

· OC Racial Justice Collaborative

· Resilience Orange County

Please let us know if there are other ways that you would like to see Mentor Me step up – or step back. We welcome your partnership, ideas, and input. We are always looking for new mentors, passionate community members for our advisory board, and financial contributors to join or Mentor Me Learning Team. Please feel free to reach out to me if you are interested!

With much love and gratitude,

Ashley Dos Santos

Founder, Lead Mentor & Director of Changemaking

Mentor Me Learning