These are sad times in America. Our history of brutality and injustice perpetrated against Black people continues. Black people continue to experience discrimination and racism in their daily lives while engaged in everyday activities such as going for a walk or standing on a street corner waiting for a bus.
Briarpatch Youth Services condemns the recent injustices perpetrated against Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people in America. The indiscriminate killings of Black people must stop. Police brutality must stop. Systemic racism must end.
Our local, state, and national leaders must take those steps necessary to end discrimination and systemic racism. This will require bold and determined leadership from our elected officials. The insidious nature of systemic racism will be difficult to overcome - but it must be overcome. We must demand and expect equal justice and equal opportunity for everyone.
We encourage elected officials to begin making changes that safeguard the lives of Black people while also offering opportunities for a better life. Some initial actions that can be taken include: 1) making physical restraint techniques that obstruct breathing and interfere with cardiac function illegal; 2) implementing policies that require an independent review, by a civilian oversight group, of all law enforcement actions that result in a death; 3) identifying and eliminating discriminatory practices that contribute to the gross over-representation of Black people in the criminal justice system, 4) broadening access to affordable health care for everyone; and 5) raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
Eliminating systemic racism cannot be accomplished overnight. It will be a difficult journey with obstacles along the way and resistance from those who prefer the status quo. Let us begin this journey now.
Casey Behrend, Executive Director
Briarpatch Youth Services
Due to COVID-19, Briarpatch has implemented the following protocols:
Please call 608.245.2550 or 608.251.1126 with any questions.
In Dane County it is estimated approximately 300 youth go to bed homeless each night. 1 in 3 youth will be approached for sex in exchange for food, shelter, drugs, etc. within 48 hours of leaving home; 75% of these youth have already or will drop out of school. These are good kids in bad situations and they need our help. The staff at Briarpatch Youth Services work with these youth to make sure they have the resources and support they need in order to succeed. Learn more here.
Copies of our Annual Report are available to the public and may be found here.
Briarpatch Youth Services is a 501(c)3 organization.