The entire Breakthrough New York family was horrified by the events in Charlottesville last weekend. It was an appalling reminder that vicious racism still thrives in parts of our society. We were further disheartened when President Trump initially did not condemn the perpetrators and name them for what they are: white supremacists and domestic terrorists. It was, unfortunately, the latest example of the President failing us and, more importantly, our children.
What made last weekend’s events even more shocking is that they occurred on a college campus—the University of Virginia—where young people from all over the world come to learn in a safe, racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse environment.
At Breakthrough New York, we help our students get into top colleges and college-prep high schools, not only for the first-class education they will receive, but also so they can participate in extracurricular groups and social activities with peers whose backgrounds and perspectives differ from their own. Tragedies like the events in Charlottesville only strengthen our commitment to supporting our students and preparing them for success in a diverse world.
This fall, Breakthrough New York will proudly send two incoming freshmen to the University of Virginia, and over 120 others to colleges and boarding schools across the country, away from the familiarity of home.
To these, and all, our students, we say, unequivocally: we’ve got your back.
In addition to the support services we provide our students, we also encourage them to find supportive groups and communities on their campuses, and to build nurturing relationships with other students, faculty members, and administrators. We are in dialogue with the Office of African American Affairs at the University of Virginia to ensure our students successfully transition there, and are committed to establishing similar connections for all of our students.
We also say, with great confidence: you will be the force that changes the world.
We are inspired to see so many Breakthrough New York students taking a stand by participating in peaceful protests and vigils in response to the hatred and violence in Charlottesville. The truth is, dealing with tough issues head-on is nothing new for our students. From participating in robust current events debates in our classrooms, to tackling prejudice and inequality in their own lives, our students have the passion, commitment, and knowledge to make our world a more just and humane place for future generations.