Beyond a Building: Still Telling Our Stories
Dear friends of YR Media,
On behalf of the passionate, talented team of staff and young people who power YR Media (formerly known as Youth Radio), thank you to the organization’s alumni and many others in the Bay Area community who expressed concern for us and donated so generously after our headquarters in downtown Oakland were tagged during protests for justice for #GeorgeFloyd. Our community immediately sprang into action and has rallied support for our work as storytellers to keep moving forward.
There were calls for donations on Twitter spearheaded by YR Media alumni, including Whiz Ward.
Also, and without any prompting, community members — including current YR Media youth employees — spent their Saturday and Sunday scrubbing away at the facade of our building with one man telling a member of our staff: “I just didn’t want the kids to see it like this.” I am in awe at the generosity of spirit and the ways in which the community continues to embrace us and the youth we serve every day.
While we celebrate the restoration of our building, we want to make it clear that our priority is justice. Our team of young, diverse content creators have been on the front lines covering this lethal pandemic of racism that devalues Black life. Through our daily coverage, we’ve been calling attention to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Sean Reed, as well as the legal systems that failed them at every level.
We are committed to telling their stories, and the stories of all of those whose lives have been affected or cut short by systemic racism. We look to the emerging storytellers at YR Media for leadership in this time, as we have for over 25 years. Our goal is to make sure their voices are not silenced as has been the case for far too many members of the media reporting on this critical time in our country’s history.
We love our headquarters, but working virtually, our YR “home” is something that cannot be defaced. Paint can be removed. Debris can be cleared away, but in this moment, what we want most is for our young people to see us united as a community seeking justice.
We hope you will join us in this fight to ensure they have the platform and resources to continue to speak truth to power and lead this country in a better direction.
Chief Executive Officer, YR Media