Dear ASAP Community,
We write to you in this incredibly trying time to address national events that have been weighing heavily on all of us. We want to open by stating it as plainly as we know how: The ASAP team stands in solidarity with the black community. We fully support your right to be seen and heard. We are shocked and saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, the latest in an endless line of vicious abuse of black people in America. We condemn police brutality, and we demand the institutional and personal changes required to establish the most fundamental values of human equity and justice.
Last week, there were lively demonstrations just outside the ASAP office windows, that included many of our students and their families. But the reality is that this issue has hit close to home for as long as ASAP has existed, and that institutional racism has plagued our country for literally hundreds of years.This racism is further laid bare by the effects of the pandemic, during which blacks are dying from the coronavirus at more than twice the rate of whites, and, as a result of recent layoffs, fewer than half of black adults in the U.S. now have a job.
At ASAP, education is our resistance. We work to uplift our community and create change by building strong pathways for hundreds of students of color each year on their journeys to and through college. We are proud that our students are earning BA/BS degrees within 4-6 years at a rate of 43%, which is 4x the national rate of only 11% for low-income, first generation college students. We know that our young people are change makers, and we stand beside them now, and in the future, to use their voices and lived experiences to demand change. We at ASAP have always sought to be effective and intentional allies to the Black Lives Matter movement, and we are ever learning how to be better.
The Black Lives Matter demonstrations include our students, staff and stakeholders, demanding that America now extend its promises of liberty and justice to all of its citizens, including those in the black community. We are working to help our students through these sad realities and toward better futures, where they can live free from the oppressive grasp of structural racism. We realize that these demonstrations are just one piece of the movement, not the endpoint, and that our work continues. We invite the members of our community to join us in this endeavor.
The Staff and Board of ASAP
Note: ASAP at Mission High School (formerly Athletics Scholars Advancement Program) merged with Mission Graduates in July 2020. This article has been transferred to Mission Graduates’ website for archival purposes and reflects the work, vision, and stories of ASAP staff and students at the time of publication.