We are living in a time fraught with challenges that as a society we must rise to meet, in our homes and communities and across the nation at large. From a new, deadly enemy in the COVID-19 pandemic, to others that are sadly historical, deep-rooted, and equally pernicious—inequity and racism—these challenges are calling us to reexamine who we are and want to be, and how we will do our part to overcome obstacles and conditions that can at times seem insurmountable.
The death of George Floyd, following so many others like it, not only exposes longstanding, entrenched injustices in our society but also brings authentic emotions of anguish and anger and even hopelessness to the forefront, giving rise to the civil unrest experienced throughout the country in recent days. Too many voices have not been heard; too many people are not listening. As a civil society, we must move to action and begin to heal and fix the brokenness we encounter in and around us.
These troubled times cause those of us at Helios Education Foundation to reflect on our work and how we might partner with others on solutions. As a foundation dedicated to creating opportunities for ALL individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education, Helios advocates for equity from early learning thru postsecondary education on behalf of all students, but especially those who are first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented. We advocate for resources and systems that support students achieving their dreams; we promote equal access connecting each student to his or her full potential; and we envision a future transformed by the power of education.
At Helios we believe that – now more than ever – recent events require us as an organization, and all of us in Arizona and Florida and as a nation, to recommit to shared beliefs in equity and social justice. These are not just words; Helios will redouble our efforts to advance educational excellence and success through the lens of equity and social justice and to partner with those willing to take that journey with us. We will continue to embrace civic learning and civic engagement. We will stand together as one with a diverse multitude of people helping each other to realize our collective dreams, fulfilling our individual potential and reshaping the future of our country together.
Vince Roig, Founding Chairman and Paul J. Luna, President and CEO