Since I started working in philanthropy, I have believed passionately in strong communities so families of all backgrounds – especially children – can be healthy, vibrant and safe.
When I heard the news of the Parkland, Florida school shooting on Feb. 14, my heart sank. I shook my head. I grimaced. Like many of you, I thought: Again?
I took a moment to reflect on the lives of the 17 young people and school staff members. The lives of their parents, their brothers, their sisters. The health of a community. The future of our youth. And the state of our nation.
News of the shooting struck a particular chord for me. Just days earlier, my Board of Directors and senior leadership team were about 50 miles south of Parkland, in Miami’s Little Haiti.
We were there for a board meeting site visit. We met families and community leaders at Haitian Women of Miami, to see movement building in action.
We heard from a 10-year-old Haitian girl who wants extended Temporary Protected Status for her mom and dad. “I fight for my parents,” the girl told us. A Haitian woman proudly showed us her U.S. citizenship document. We applauded and smiled.
There are many strands and questions to the Parkland tragedy. Out of all of this, I am encouraged by the passion and conviction of Parkland youth – new leaders such as Emma Gonzalez. In their voices and their eyes, I see the positive power of youth organizing. I see movement building gaining momentum. I see people coming together.
As a leader in philanthropy and a woman committed to strong communities, I know we – as a collective group – can do much to rally behind these voices, these new youth leaders and anyone who supports progress and families.
We can share knowledge. We can support community organizations. We can ask questions, listen to answers, and then, take positive action. Most importantly, we can demonstrate kindness to one another, every minute of the day.