Condemnation and outrage are not enough

We chose a North Star to focus our work for the next decade: Build a reality where all youth in marginalized communities are equipped to imagine and create their best lives and world.

And in that world, Black lives matter.

We spoke up after Ahmaud Arbery was lynched. We were incensed to learn of Breonna Taylor’s murder. And in short order, yet again, we are outraged by the killing of George Floyd. 


Sandra Bland. Michael Brown Jr. Philando Castile. Jordan Edwards. Eric Garner. Eric Harris. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Walter Scott. Alton Sterling. Trayvon Martin. We speak their names and we name why they died – a police system and vigilantism where Black people have suffered unjust and untenable treatment, robbing them of life and us of our moral standard. 


Only addressing this latest tragedy won’t be enough. We join the rising voices of a diaspora across our cities, states and nation against the root of this ill: white supremacy and systemic racism. Racism is why youth of color are disciplined more frequently and with more severity in schools than their White peers. Racism is why people of color are more likely to be incarcerated and with longer sentences than White people. Racism is why persons of color are dying of Coronavirus at higher numbers than White people. And racism is why police violence is a leading cause of death for Black men, 2.5 times the rate of White men.


Our youth, team, and community are deeply affected – we are experiencing anger, sadness, fear, confusion. What we refuse to feel is hopelessness.


For more than 30 years, Big Thought has delivered creative programs in this community and we are beyond proud of the young people in our world – powerful, innovative, beautiful souls. Our Black youth, like all others, deserve both a future where they can thrive and a present where they can be their most authentic joyful selves in living color without fear. 


Big Thought will continue to: 

Yet, becoming an anti-racist organization implicates not just our work with youth; it’s also about our work on ourselves. Our journey with our board of directors and staff to embed racial equity in our own organization will continue. It is hard to take stock of the reality that an organization that does beautiful work with people of color, that employs people of color, that has an increasingly more diverse board, that even has a Black CEO can still be a place where we have further to go to realize a fully liberated organization. But we are deeply committed to this racial equity training and transformation work that began over a year ago and remains ongoing. We are calling on all organizations and corporations who care about Black lives to do the same.

Condemnation and outrage are not enough. We must:

Challenge ourselves, our circles, and our leaders to be anti-racist.
Listen to Black voices to better understand, then act.
This specific moment calls for specific action. You’ve supported the mission of Big Thought, and now we also ask that you support the mission of organizations working to re-imagine a world where we no longer have to ever again declare Black lives matter:
  • Faith in Texas – A nonpartisan, multi-racial, multi-faith grassroots movement of people united in values working together to achieve economic, racial, and social justice for all people
  • Mothers Against Police Brutality – A multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition uniting mothers nationwide to fight for civil rights, police accountability, and policy reform
  • Dallas Truth Racial Healing and Transformation – Seeded in Dallas by the Kellogg Foundation, a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism
Big Thought Board of Directors
Shaun Dowling
Chair,  Board of Directors
Big Thought


Danica Mathes
Chair-Elect, Board of Directors
Big Thought
Byron Sanders
President and CEO
Big Thought