When Shelter in Place began in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus, we began to anticipate the need to encourage the R.E.D.S. girls to remain true to our slogan: A Sharp Mind, Strong Body, and a Peaceful Soul.
Additionally, we needed to provide support to staff and volunteers. “We have so many girls, families, and staff members who rely on us that my immediate concern was with them and how we were going to be able to serve their needs during this time,” said Program Director; Jacqueline Hunt-Willis; “In the face of such uncertainty, we must remain vigilant for our incredibly talented team and for the sake of this community”.
Over several days, the Jion Board of Directors quickly moved to support a revamped vision of R.E.D.S. involving a creative approach to education. We began to pivot our program to meet the additional needs and concerns of the girls.
Our online curriculum was developed with the best interests of the girls in mind. During this Pandemic, we have initiated a first-class, first-rate online curriculum. Our classes include but are not limited to: Civic Engagement, Self-Esteem, Creative Writing, Graphic Art, and wellness and fitness.
We remain committed to provided resources to those most in need, and we actively urge and support appropriate action from health care experts. We are relying on and following expert advice on the local, state, and national level. Practicing social distancing and abiding by the C.D.C. and state mandates is the smartest thing for everyone concerned.
We always have our eyes looking forward and focusing on the future of our girls. We anticipate there will be a rush for our services as families return to work, and we are well-positioned to continue our program. We have used and are using creative outlets to continue to stay connected with the girls, families, donors, and community partners. We remain optimistic about our future – for our organization, the girls we serve, and the communities that we represent.
With Warm Regards,
Spergon W. Hunt
Jion Academy is a non-profit organization located in Oakland, California dedicated to improving lives, strengthening families, and improving communities. We condemn racism in the strongest terms possible. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and Erik Salgado are some of the most recent victims in a seemingly endless stream of senseless violence committed against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). These atrocities as a result of systemic racism have generated anguish and protests from people of good will all over the world.
We call for change in law enforcement and for action from political leaders so these latest, public, moments of pain and suffering may finally lead to the change our society needs. And we stand with our partners, funders and the communities they support, in their efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive society.
The blight of systemic racism corrupts every activity and institution that matters in our lives – our education and health systems, the environment, the arts, politics, commerce, law, and philanthropy. To accelerate reform requires more than a statement like this or one-time action; it demands ongoing commitment.
These are troubling and challenging times. We need unity now more than ever. Healing these divides will take hard work, and responsibility for that lies with each of us, both individually and collectively. We cannot do so, however, unless we are willing to stand up for what is right, change what is wrong, and condemn both injustice and those willing to ignore it.