From: Nate Berls
To: Team Members
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 4:29 PM

We are witnessing the largest civil rights movement in history. 50 states and 18 countries. You are living through it now, and you might be questioning your role. You might be questioning your community. You might feel unheard.

All of us have been feeling pain and uncertainty. Some more than others. To those who have been affected by tragedy, we grieve with you.

Systemic problems in the United States have been thrown into high relief. There are problems that we need to tackle to push America to live out its highest ideals. It is inspiring how many young people have been galvanized and motivated. Historically, so much progress that we have made in our society has been nourished by young people. Grassroots movements are young. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a young man when he got involved with the civil rights movement. Cesar Chavez was young. Leaders of the #MeToo feminist movement, leaders of the LGBTQ movement are young people.

I am amazed by the talent, voice and sophistication that young people display. You have the power to make things better. Your voice matters.

I am inspired by young people speaking for reforms to make community policing increase safety rather than precipitate tragedy. Folks are speaking strategically and practically at a very detailed level. Where are the places you can make change? What are the practical solutions, backed up by research, backed up by data? How do we create communities that are safe and just? Communities that are safe and fair? Communities that are safe and nondiscriminatory?

We question things on the debate team. We see that things are flawed and see that we have responsibilities to address them.

The United States is a big country, and democracy is messy. It does not guarantee certain outcomes. This movement is the pent-up frustration over the enduring centuries long existence of racial discrimination.

There will be times where you must have hard conversations with your friends, teachers and future coworkers. You need to be able to shed light, not just generate sound and fury.

If you are true to things inside of yourselves that feel true and feel right, the world gets better every time. I see that in the young people I have worked with. I could not be prouder of them. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

You must embrace the difficult conversations. We have to speak for justice, we have to speak for truth, and we can never take them for granted.

Nate Berls
Coach, Analy High School Speech and Debate

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