Updated June 5, 2020
Black Lives Matter. We stand with our Black community. We stand against the policing of Black bodies, the militarization of the police, and systemic and institutionalized racism.
Who We Are
We have put our planned COVID-19 update on hold for now, in order to speak directly to the events of the past two weeks. Today, we speak to you as a group of 13 individuals that make up the staff and board of Building Bridges. This statement reflects our voices and is representative of a range of racial/ethnic identities, centering leadership from people of color. As a group, we are all experiencing this moment very differently.
But one thing stands: as individuals and as a community, we are angry. We are devastated. We are overwhelmed and hurting, exhausted and afraid. And we are also hopeful and motivated and ready. We are ready for this moment and for what comes next.
As an organization, Building Bridges has always been open and upfront around the lens of our work – we are anti-oppressive and intersectional, with a 25-year legacy of challenging ourselves and our participants to deeper authenticity, relationship, and awareness. Over the past four years, we have intentionally been shifting to center racial equity across all that we do, knowing that this shift allows us to more fully pursue our vision of seeding a just and inclusive world.
What We Value
We value Black lives and the liberation of Black people from oppression.
We value empowerment and justice.
We value empathy and deep listening.
And we recognize the humanity in ourselves and others.
Where We Stand
Black Lives Matter.
We mourn the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many, many others.
We stand with our Black community. We stand with the protestors. We stand in solidarity with our community partners advocating for concrete steps to increase racial equity in Colorado. Specifically, we stand with Student Voice and Leadership and others who are pushing for Denver Public Schools to end its contract with the Denver Police Department and remove police presence from our children’s schools.
We condemn the Trump administration’s calls for violence against protestors. We condemn police brutality, the militarization of the police, and the structural racism embedded in the law enforcement system.
We lead and teach with empathy, but we don’t hand-hold. We are here for the discomfort of this work. We are here for difficulty and conflict, for pain and grief. And we keep showing up for it because we are also here for the joy of true connection and for the hope of building a better way forward.
We commit to showing up – every single day – for the personal, interpersonal and community work required to increase racial equity. We commit to centering the leadership, voices, and needs of Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color.
Our team has been on the ground, putting our beliefs to action, and we are in the business of dismantling white supremacy for the long haul. We are the marathon runners, not the sprinters. And that’s okay – we need both. We are here for the newbies who want to learn and the OG’s who want to deepen their anti-oppressive practices. We are here as a community that is always learning and growing, constantly challenging ourselves to deeper inclusion in our programs, communications, and organizational structure. Further, we commit to moving our own financial resources to the cause of racial equity through the Liberated Leaders Fund. Learn more about this and join us here.
Call to Action
We ask that you join us in the fight.
- Donate to Black Lives Matter 5280, the Colorado Freedom Fund, the Denver Justice Project, George Floyd Memorial Fund, and other organizations leading the community response where you live
- Call and email your elected officials, including mayors, school board members, and district attorneys to demand accountability and change.
- Sign your organization on to this letter and ask your Representative to support this House resolution condemning police violence and asking for accountability
- Protest, vote, volunteer, host a Learn Your Rights presentation, and seek other ways to be active in your community
- Take care of yourself and others by connecting with loved ones, engaging in art and movement, and taking time to heal in community.
With love and solidarity,
Hameeda Abdul Kadir, Celeste Alamillo, Brittney Bobadilla, Megan Devenport, Hannah Galgiani, Rachel Lynn, Darion Mayhorn, Jenny Medrano, Maren Miller, Raegan Quattlebaum, Robbie Roppolo, Zoe West, Jalisa Williams
Updated April 17, 2020
First and foremost, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these uncertain times. We appreciate all of your patience as we navigate the multiple changes that Denver and the rest of the world are experiencing.
We would like to provide you an important update for our 2020-2021 Transform program based upon current local and federal recommendations. As of April 17, Colorado is under a shelter-in-place order until the end of the month. Based on current projections, we anticipate that this order will likely extend into the summer. Due to this uncertainty, we have decided to cancel the 10-day summer residential component of our 2020-2021 programming.
This was not an easy decision to make, but it was made based on our values as a community. Inclusivity is central to Building Bridges, and we want to make sure that everyone who would like to be, is included in our programming. Therefore, while it is possible that the stay-at-home order in Denver may be lifted by this summer, we realize that there are some of you that are living with older, or immunocompromised loved ones – and a residential trip is too big of a risk. Right now, the safety and well-being of you and our community is most important to us.
We recognize the disappointment and sadness that this decision might bring up – and as a staff we are feeling it with you. However, we are extremely excited to announce the restructuring and expansion of our 2020-2021 school year programming that will now include a virtual summer training series, three weekend residential trips, and monthly workshops.
Now, more than ever, it feels so important to be connected and we are committed to ensuring that all of you have a meaningful and transformative experience over the next year at Building Bridges. We are still actively recruiting for Transform, so please tell your friends/other young people in your life! You can find all the details here: http://bit.ly/BBTransformApp
We are so excited to welcome you into our Building Bridges community. Please reach out if you have any questions, and look out for our next update to be posted on our website and sent via email by April 30th.
Raegan Quattlebaum, Transform Program Coordinator
Updated March 24, 2020
By now, you and everyone you know has been impacted in some way by COVID-19 – whether by the virus directly, by the preventative measures put in place to slow its spread, or by increasingly common racist and xenophobic attacks. We know lives and livelihoods are being directly impacted at this time.
Building Bridges is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and is taking proactive measures to support our community.
- All three of our spring training programs have been cancelled. All registrants will have the option to roll registration over to the Fall sessions or receive a credit for future services.
- We will continue to collaborate with Shift clients to reschedule services or modify to virtual trainings when possible.
- All staff will continue to work-from-home and have access to unlimited use of paid sick leave if necessary during this period.
- Though we’re remote, we are working more collaboratively than ever to translate our in-person programs to online workshops and courses. More details to come in the next two weeks.
- Join us regularly on Instagram Live to interact with alumni and staff members. We are communicating regularly with Transform program alumni and families to offer resources and support.
- Transform recruitment is in full swing! If you know an awesome high school student who’d be great for Transform, please nominate them today!
- Reach out to us if you need someone to talk to or connect with! Text, email, call, or DM (contact info in the footer). We are available!
- Want to help us? Become a monthly donor to Building Bridges to ensure we have the resources to shift gears to meet our mission now and once this crisis passes!
Thank you for being part of the Building Bridges community. Together we are resilient, interconnected, and powerful. We are grateful to you for your support of our work and your commitment to community!
Please look for updates from us next week. In the meantime, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-691-2393 if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.
Megan Devenport, Executive Director @ Building Bridges
Updated March 16, 2020
COVID-19 Update from Building Bridges
Building Bridges is closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and is taking proactive measures to support our community. Since our last announcement, we have updated our Health Emergency Framework to reflect the newest guidance from public health professionals. You can read through the updated plan here. Read on for specific actions we’re taking to support the health and well-being of our community.
For our operations:
- Based on updated guidance, we have decided to close our physical office space starting today – March 16 – and our team will work virtually at least through April 3rd.
- All work-related travel is postponed at least through April 3rd.
- All employees are encouraged to practice social distancing.
For our clients and participants:
- Uprooted, our March 20th professional development training has been cancelled. All registrants will have the option to roll registration over to the Fall session or receive a credit for future services.
- We are currently working to modify Rooted and Liberated to allow both to be conducted virtually. Details for each training will be posted on our Events page and shared via social media channels (Facebook and Instagram) as they become available. Early bird rates are still available!
- We will continue to collaborate with Shift clients to reschedule services or shift to virtual trainings when possible.
- We are communicating regularly with Transform program alumni and families to offer resources and support.
- We are getting creative with community partners for Transform recruitment and outreach. If you know an awesome high school student who’d be great for Transform, please nominate them today!
For our staff:
- We are ensuring staff have consistent access to work-from-home options.
- We are supporting staff with emergency preparations when possible.
- We have extended unlimited use of paid sick leave during this period.
- We are fundraising to underwrite temporary expansion of Health Reimbursement Agreement.
- We have engaged in contingency planning for range of scenarios.
Things are changing rapidly and very little is certain about our shared future. However, in the face of this challenge, we are certain of a few things. We know we are stronger together than alone, that empathy and kindness are powerful antidotes to fear and isolation, and that there is critical hope to be found even in the chaos.
Please be on the lookout for updates from us by next Monday March 23rd. In the meantime, please reach out to me at email@example.com or 303-691-2393 if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.
Updated March 12, 2020
As a community-driven nonprofit, we believe that our community comes first. As such, we have established a Health Emergency Framework based on recommendations related to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted resources. This Framework seeks to balance the needs of our clients and participants, the health and well-being of our incredible staff team, the expectations of funders and supporters, and the importance of community health protections. You can read through the plan here.
Based on this framework, as of March 12, 2020, Building Bridges plans to move forward with most scheduled trainings and events. This includes our Uprooted training on Friday March 20th. Using the levels outlined in the Framework, we will continuously evaluate the status of our public trainings and communicate any changes.
In order to the meantime, we are taking concrete action.
What action is
Building Bridges taking?
In our office space:
- Cleaning and sanitizing work spaces and supplies daily
- Making hand sanitizer readily available
- Moving meetings online when possible
- Encouraging staff to work from home
- Practicing social distancing in interactions with people
For our clients and participants:
- Collaborating with Shift clients to reschedule services or shift to virtual trainings when possible
- Communicating with Transform program alumni and families to offer resources and support
- Offering training registrants the option to roll their registration over to fall sessions
- Getting creative with community partners for Transform recruitment and outreach
For our staff:
- Ensuring consistent access to work-from-home options, including wifi hotspots
- Supporting staff with emergency preparations when possible
- Providing unlimited use of paid sick leave during this period
- Fundraising to underwrite temporary expansion of Health Reimbursement Agreement
- Contingency planning for range of scenarios
At this time of stress and uncertainty, we are reminded of how powerful, loving, and supportive our community is. We want to remind all of us to care for each other, practice empathy and kindness with loved ones and strangers, and focus on the reality that we are all connected.
Below you’ll find resources and tips to consider in supporting your own health and wellness. And please be on the lookout for updates from us by next Thursday, March 19th. In the meantime, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-691-2393 if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.
Megan Devenport, Executive Director
- COVID Fact Sheet
- Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment (CDPHE)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
The best preventative measures to take are the same as with the common cold or the flu:
- Washing your hands frequently (e.g., before and after eating, after traveling on public transportation)
- Coughing/sneezing into your elbow, not your hands
- Arranging with your manager to WFH or take PTO as appropriate, if you have symptoms
Ready.gov has a good list to use as the starting point for building a disaster supply kit. This basic kit is designed to help you self-sustain for three days post-disaster (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc.) until the government and aid workers can get help to you. Unlike natural disasters, outbreaks tend to have a longer-lasting impact due to recommended or mandatory “social distancing” lasting for 30 days or more. As such, we encourage you to plan to self-sustain for at least 30 days. If you build this kit, you will be prepared for future emergencies as well.
Being over-prepared is better than being under-prepared, and preparing before you absolutely need to may reduce feelings of stress. You will also have better access to needed supplies before an emergency situation.