Greater Albany Public Schools has joined with various community organizations to offer support to students impacted by the recent deaths of unarmed Black people which have sparked protests nationwide.
On Monday, GAPS released a statement in partnership with the NAACP, Corvallis School District, Lebanon Community Schools, Linn-Benton Community College and Linn and Benton County Mental Health.
"We are committed to a safe and supportive space for you," the statement read. "Our isolation during this time has a greater impact due to our inability to gather and support you. Please reach out to talk and find ways to get support."
The statement comes on the back of nationwide protests and demonstrations overseas against police brutality, set off by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota pressed on the handcuffed man's neck with his knee until he died.
The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor were also cited in the statement. Arbery was chased by two white men in a pick-up truck and gunned down after running in his neighborhood. Taylor was shot in her home after police were issued a no-knock warrant for two men residing in another home. She was shot at least 8 times.
On Sunday, a group of approximately 2,000 people gathered peacefully in Corvallis holding signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace.”
"We recognize that many in our community may be hurting right now," said GAPS Assistant Superintendent Lisa Harlan. "We want our students and families to know the resources that are available, and to feel like they can seek support when needed."
Calling for a safe space, the organizations releasing the statement on Monday provided information for several local and national hotlines.
"We acknowledge the pain and trauma in our communities of color," the joint statement issued Monday said. "We condemn violence and racism and we remain committed to providing a safe space in our schools and communities."
If you or someone you know is in need of help, local organizations have provided the following resources:
Benton County Mental Health crisis information hotline: 1-888-232-7192
Linn County Mental Health: 1-541-967-3866 (press #1)
Crisis text line: Text "HOME" to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
NAACP (local chapter): 541-829-3023
Students can reach their school counselors by calling their respective school, emailing teachers or calling the district office. Students of LBCC can email Javier Cervantes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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