June 05, 2020

Only Love Can Drive Out Hate

Dear Friends of Friends:

This is a devastating time for many Americans, especially for communities like those that Friends of the Children serves. The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be waning but, as you can see from this map, residents of Bayview Hunters Point still test positive at rates nearly four times those in wealthier neighborhoods. And the economic impact of the virus on underserved communities will live on long after a vaccine has been discovered.

Bayview covid map

As if that were not enough, our children and families were subjected last week to the heartbreaking sight of a Minneapolis policeman casually murdering George Floyd while he lay handcuffed on the ground. Our sympathy and love go out to the families we serve and to all our brothers and sisters of color, and we support their calls for swift justice.

The murder of George Floyd was devastating but not surprising. The list of victims goes back to Trayvon Martin and Rodney King, to the schoolgirls of Birmingham, to the lynchings that occurred regularly across this country for several centuries. And those murders are but one aspect of the systemic racism that continues to create immense barriers for children we serve. As Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Memorial to Peace and Justice said, “Slavery in America did not die, it just evolved.”

I co-founded the San Francisco chapter of Friends of the Children because I believe that long-term, loving support – we stay with each child for 12-1/2 years – can begin to overcome the barriers created by 400 years of systemic racism. As Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

But more is required. One of our core values at Friends of the Children is Demand Equity, and that value has never been more important. We commit to:

  • Demand an immediate end to a system that permits our civil servants to act with impunity, treating people of color as less than human;
  • Demand that our elected officials work to heal rather than exacerbate the divisions among us; and
  • Demand that each of us listen deeply to our brothers and sisters of color, look honestly at the racism in our society – and in ourselves – and work tirelessly to eliminate it.

Please join us in demanding equity. Together we can create a more equitable society!


Michael Signature Michael Rugen
SF Co-Founder & Executive Director
Friends of the Children - SF Bay Area