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YSS participates in Black Lives Matter community event

YSS was one of several Ames community groups that participated in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action Community Learning Event. The event was held as part of Black History Month to highlight and celebrate Black joy, love, and success.

Each community group created a video featuring a learning session around one of the 13 Principles of Black Lives Matter. The videos were posted on the event’s Facebook page Feb. 21-24.

YSS’s guiding principle was “Loving Engagement,” which means: “We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.”

The YSS video featured Andrew Allen, YSS President & CEO, and members of YSS’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Engagement Committee—Cherie McClelland, Lorena Simpson, Taylor Tieden, Hannah Van Schaik, and Feleecia Watkins.

The committee members explained why it’s important to understand other people’s emotions and to fight the problem, not the person who caused it. They also provided ways to resolve conflict, including engaging in conversation, listening intently, and voicing solutions.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been at the root of YSS for more than 45 years,” Allen said. “We’re working every day to ensure that our employees and our board look like the kids and families that we’re serving.”

Other participating community groups included Dog-Eared Books, The Ames Black Liberation Movement, Ames Pride, Evolve, and Story County Democrats.

The week culminated in an open house on Feb. 25 at the Ames Middle School, where all groups came together to provide resources and handouts about their principles. An open forum followed that focused on the state of Black students and staff in the district. The community was invited to attend and ask questions related to the focus of the forum.

“I’m proud of the Ames community for embracing this project, and I’m grateful that YSS was part of the effort,” Allen said.

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