"I cried," said the caller. "I'm not sure why it got to me this time, but I needed to cry. Then I called you." I can't tell you how many of my friends, family members, and those I hold dear have reached out to me to unpack THIS moment - for so many reasons. This letter is to invite us to unpack it together.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Billi Wilkerson, and I joined the Board of Directors for Little Friends for Peace toward the end of 2019. For more than ten years, LFFP has been an integral part of my family. Many of you may recognize me through my children, Nandi, Maya, and CJ. CJ was 5 when he started coming to Peace Camps - he is 17 now, and last summer CJ was a camp counselor. Maya is 19 and in college. Nandi is all grown up with a baby of her own. She has integrated peacemaking principles into the design of her one-year old's play room.
I am a lawyer and an advocate for peace, justice, and equality. I currently work at the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University School of Law. Prior to law school, and for twenty-plus years, I worked with individuals, in communities, and with organizations teaching racial reconciliation, demonstrating peaceful conflict resolution, and advocating for marginalized communities here in DC and beyond.
Since the death of George Floyd, and the protests that followed, I have had several people approach me with questions like: What is the best way to be an ally in the struggle for racial justice? Should I take my child to a protest? Am I wrong to judge another mother for taking her child to a protest? What should I do with the anger that is building inside me? If I feel helpless, what can I do? Will COVID-19 actually spike following recent protests?
Using the tools developed at LFFP, research, and insights from various sources, I would like to begin a series of conversations to address questions from parents, students of peace, and young children. The work that is to be done is color conscious, not color blind. There is a spectrum in the ebb and flow of life and each of us stands in a different place than the next. It's not helpful to suggest that the solutions to the problems presented in our communities are one dimensional. And yet, the simple truth is consistent.
In this moment of anger, grief, violence, and unrest, I feel a deep sense of call to bring my gifts and experience to the greater community of LFFP. As you know, over the past few decades, LFFP is not as little as it once was. We have expanded our programs to include peacebuilding opportunities for adults (including adults who are experiencing incarceration), college students, teens, tweens, and children.
Please let us know if you are interested in joining this conversation by emailing Caity Dee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In peace and hope,
Member, Board of Directors
Little Friends For Peace