Happy Juneteenth from our CHRIS 180 family to yours!
Today, as we commemorate Black liberation in America, we invite you to pause and think about what liberation means to you.
A quick scroll online lists several different definitions of liberation, most referring to a group of people being set free. But what if we looked at liberation from an individual lens?
For 42 years, CHRIS 180 has been part of seeing youth and young adults from the most difficult of circumstances be set free from the labels set upon them by their families, friends or society. We have prided ourselves on having a staff and leadership makeup that reflects the diverse community we serve.
This Juneteenth, we are proud to shine a light on those who have found liberation from within.
Clients like Kailani, who came to CHRIS 180 while experiencing homelessness after facing difficulties with loved ones after coming out. She now has her GED, has received job training, and even has a place to live. Even though her family may have turned their backs on her, Kailani freed herself from the judgment of others to get the help she needed.
Then there’s Tee, a middle schooler who was the victim of bullying at school. After getting in a fight, he was sent to participate in one of our Westside programs, where our team fought to keep him from being expelled. Now, he attends weekly therapy and is active in our after-school activities. Tee’s freedom came from getting his anger under control, so he could thrive in life and at school.
10 years ago, Levi joined the CHRIS 180 family after living in 19 different foster homes. After finding stability with our team, including therapy and life skills support, Levi graduated from high school, then Georgia State University, and this summer, he walked across another stage to receive the first of his two planned master’s degrees. Levi knows he beat the odds facing him as a young Black man in America. Now he’s preparing for a future in child welfare, to help other kids who look just like him.
These three are just a few of our thousands of clients who have found resiliency through freedom. But for many other nameless, faceless men, women and nonbinary people in the Black community, the price of freedom has been unbearably high.
As we think about the past today, it is important to look ahead and be hopeful for the future: A future that we at CHRIS 180 hope is truly free from racism, hate and violence.
Only then will we all be free.