Irreplaceable

We rarely comment on current events, but the Buffalo murders at the hands of an 18-year-old white supremacist hit us hard. To our friends and colleagues in Buffalo, we share your grief and anger and offer our support.

The young shooter subscribed to the racist theory that white people, like him, are being replaced by those he considers “other.” Those who promote “replacement theory” want white people to be terrified by the demographic changes that are turning the US from majority white to a multi-hued people. Replacement theorists promote the idea that these changes constitute an existential threat, a loss of identity and white power. They feed their audience on entitlement, hate, and rage, as if a white person’s troubles somehow come from the BIPOC, Jewish, Muslim, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ communities, and not from policies and environments that deprive too many of us–many white people included–of what we need to thrive. The Buffalo shooter is not the first to act on this theory by picking up a gun.

ACT for Youth is a small but diverse group of 11 people. We are multi-racial and multi-ethnic, representing identities across the gender and sexual orientation spectrum, from diverse economic and religious backgrounds, and from families that span a wide range of liberal and conservative views. Our diversity is a strength we are still learning to wield. We are still awkward around the conversations that we need to have, not always knowing what to say, what to expect, or how to be with each other in the context of inequities and injustices, particularly as they relate to our varying identities. But we do know that our different life experiences and perspectives give us range and understandings to help us meet the world as it is. Our diversity is not just something to celebrate, it is at the heart of who we are as an organization that aims to make change. The more we learn to cultivate this strength, the more effective we will be.

In this world, we need everyone’s strengths and gifts. We are grateful to all of you for the work you do to support young people’s growth, thriving, and connectedness. We grieve for the lives stolen in Buffalo. Each of them, and each of us, is irreplaceable.

– The ACT for Youth Team

rePRO Virtual Film Festival, August 12-16

Stacie Moss from North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council alerted us to this upcoming opportunity–thanks, Stacie!

rePRO is a five-day virtual film festival (running August 12-16) that will explore the past, present, and future of women’s reproductive health care, awareness, advocacy, and bodily integrity in America. Each day features a different topic:

Day 1: rePro Justice for Women of Color

Day 2: Believe Me, It’s My Body

Day 3: When Pregnancy Gets Complicated

Day 4: Let’s Talk About It

Day 5: All tickets are pay what you can. For those in need of a free ticket voucher they are offering a limited number of these for each session. All net ticket revenue will go to women’s reproductive justice advocacy organizations.

For more information, visit rePRO by mama.film.

EBPs in School Classrooms: Have you encountered any special challenges?

Most of you deliver evidence-based programs in school classrooms, often in health education classes. I am interested in exploring to what degree you encounter behavior challenges during programming. As I have heard from many of you, classroom management can be an issue. Naturally, classroom behavior can be impacted by many external factors such as the structure and control provided by the regular teacher, as well as school climate and organization–but sometimes the issues may arise from personal challenges that students are facing.

I would like to hear from you how often you think you have students in the class who are not participating or engaging because of special needs. Students who are very withdrawn or anxious, struggle with impulse control and attention, or have a tough time comprehending specific program activities may be coping with disabilities. Is this a common occurrence outside of special education classes? And what specific behavior challenges do you experience?

Depending on your responses, we may want to form a learning collaborative that could take a stab at developing strategies and adaptations to enable these students to participate and engage.

What has your experience been? Let us know in the comments.

  – Jutta

Farewell, Beth

As you’ve heard by now, Beth Mastro — trainer and TA provider extraordinaire — will not be returning to ACT for Youth. Beth, we will miss you so much! You make everything more fun. You took on tough projects. You are a true collaborator with a wise voice. And then there’s karaoke…

Please stay in touch!