We tried over and over again to start this letter and honestly kept getting stuck. How many letters, posts, calls to action, videos, screams, and tears must we as a society shed until we are living in the world we all are dreaming of? The world we are fighting for? A world where Black elders can shop for nourishing food without fear? A world where children can feel safe and thrive in schools and grow into themselves? A world where we can explore our faith in peace?A world where we can seek medical care safely?

We write this letter with the hopes that we are able to acknowledge the heaviness of our hearts and honor the lives lost due to anti-Blackness, gun violence, white supremacy, patriarchy, and racial capitalism, and extend opportunities for support and healing to our communities.

We are exhausted. Overwhelmed. Heartbroken. 

We are at a choice point, and what we do next is critical for the survival of our communities. Our society needs change now. We know we must find strength in ourselves and our communities to continue to build and sustain our work in order to create the world we want to live in. The world we are dreaming towards is a beacon of light, giving us strength, and guiding us. In our vision, schools are vibrant learning centers that center the students they serve and support the long-term growth, holistic wellness, and joy of students and our communities. 

This year, FEEST students have been organizing for better mental health resources in their school districts to address the collective trauma and steep challenges students and teachers are facing. And even though our work is focused on schools, we know the grief and exhaustion run wide and deep through our communities. So in the spirit of community care, we want to extend an offering, for us to gather and receive care, breathe, and grieve. 

This summer, FEEST is hosting an event series called Rest & Restore. On June 14th, we will be joined by local community practitioner Tai Maddox, who will lead us through a community reflection, meditation, and sound bath, with the intention of counteracting stress and anxiety. Please join us if you feel called to do so, and know that this will be one of many times this summer we will have a chance to gather and be with each other. We’ve also compiled a list of resources for our community to access, just click here to learn more. 

We want to leave you with a quote that has become a mantra for many of us, helping steady us through the highs and lows: 

“Hope is as much a practice, as it is a feeling.”  – Midwest Academy 

In Solidarity,