Black Lives Matter--A Special Message from Instituto's President and CEO, Karina Ayala-Bermejo

There are no words to adequately express my outrage for the injustices and inequities in the country at this moment. Black and brown communities were already are taking a disproportionate beating from COVID -19, when the killing of George Floyd sent shockwaves and pain around the country.  Though I struggle to find the words, I refuse to remain silent and humbly begin with…Rest in peace and power, George Floyd. Black Lives Matter. 

Instituto stands in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters—our familias, our students, participants, community partners—and all others who fight and serve to create a more just and equitable Chicago, nation, and world. Instituto participants come from all parts of the globe seeking a better life as refugees and immigrants. Every service we offer has one intended impact -- to break the cycle of poverty and to ensure all members of our community reach their fullest potential. Isn’t that the hope and dream we all have for our children and our children’s children?  We cannot and will not allow systemic inequities to destroy the hopes and dreams of our black and brown communities.  

Instituto pledges its unwavering commitment to fight racism in all forms, and to stand always with our black communities to make the world a more just and equitable place. We embrace and endorse the pledge of solidarity by the Latino Think and Do Tank (an academic and community collaborative) that so eloquently captured what my heart feels today:   

We stand in solidarity with Black communities.

We are united in support of the peaceful protests taking place across the country. 

We are committed to align our work in the pursuit of social justice and public health equity.

We will listen. 

We will not be silent. 

We will continue to work relentlessly, alongside Black communities, to identify and address root causes of institutional racism.

Respectfully and with unwavering commitment,