While mentoring is an age-old concept that has transformed lives throughout history, current events often cause us to rethink strategies and possibilities for this powerful intervention. As new issues arise, CMP will address the implications of these for mentoring, and the ways in which we as youth advocates must respond.
In April 2020, CMP began gathering together mentoring professionals throughout California in monthly roundtable sessions to identify the challenges and impacts of COVID-19 on mentees, their families, and the communities we serve. Feedback from 64 participants from across the state indicated that lack of access to basic needs is one of the key areas negatively affecting mentees and their families. These include the lack of:
Current research shows that mentoring can be an effective strategy to address the above basic physical and emotional needs.
The California Mentoring Partnership stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all communities of color, against all forms of systemic racism and violence. We recognize that while our field has always given attention to the need for culturally relevant programming, a more explicit commitment to equity for the youth and families we serve is necessary. We call on our field to join us in embracing an explicitly anti-racist approach to diversity, inclusion, and equity in mentoring, and to the role our field must play in ending systemic racism.
Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the civil unrest that accompanied them, CMP turned significant attention in our statewide roundtables to discussions about how mentoring can be a strategy for racial justice and support of youth and families of color. We have convened a workgroup on this critical issue, engaging a multicultural and minority-led team of mentoring leaders throughout the state.
The workgroup defines an anti-racist approach to mentoring as one that recognizes the inherent racism in all American systems and structures: public education systems, health and human services, criminal justice systems, the mentoring field itself, and the community at large. Our approach seeks to root out racism in all its forms, and we believe this requires a deep transformation of our public and nonprofit systems and structures, far beyond surface reforms. Mentoring practitioners and advocates must act to empower youth and families most affected by these concerns to lead these efforts, and the CMP Racial Justice in Mentoring workgroup is committed to making the mentoring community in California a safe and supportive space in which this work can be undertaken.
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