The past several days for the Youth Education in the Arts family have been ones of pain and excruciating sadness for us all.
As with any tragedy, the hurt is gut-wrenching and the sense of sorrow, overwhelming.
In the initial statement from the Board of Directors regarding the accusations brought forward against YEA’s former executive director, and their effort to explain YEA’s knowledge of the situation, we realize we did not do enough to acknowledge the tremendous hurt and pain of the victims, and for this we apologize.
The detailed accounts by the brave women who have come forward are painful to hear and to read. We will never tolerate any such actions by any entity connected to YEA! We offer our deepest sympathies to the women involved and want to ensure everyone that YEA! will make every effort, and take every action, to ensure the safety of all of our student members, faculty and staff.
Our commitment to the young people, staff and volunteers moving forward must be firm and unwavering. Safety of mind, body and soul is not an option, but an expectation by any individual engaged with the YEA! organization.
In our first few hours, we have already begun to take the first steps towards the healing.
Members have come together to joyfully play music. Supporters have come forward with offers of generous financial and moral support. Sisters and brothers across the marching music activity have come to share their support in all forms. YEA! staff have been empowered to create new policies and protocols that are necessary as we carry out our mission. And we are only at the very beginning of our journey.
You will read more in the next few days about the commitment of the future of YEA! turning the next page. We are committed to establishing a new culture of openness, accountability and safety at all levels. Much will change, and we will change, but in doing so, we will never forget what makes us so unique.
It will take some time but, eventually, somehow, we will see clear of the pain and begin to feel whole again. Undoubtedly, the scars will remain, but together we can and will overcome for a better tomorrow. We will be a better, stronger organization in spite of the pain.
I hope you will be able to join us in creating a better future. After all, is there really any option but to be the very best versions of who we are and do the RIGHT thing no matter how difficult?