DeMarco Hughes is the Director of Culture and Climate at Chicago Tech Academy.

“When I left my school on March 13th to begin our state-mandated stay at home order, I thought I was preparing for COVID-19, not COVID-1619 – this deadly, racist virus has raised a myriad of emotions and feelings in me in the recent weeks. Feelings that often get suppressed by the busyness of life. My life’s purpose is to serve youth and work against systems of oppression that put Black and Brown children further behind, silence their voices and work directly against their advancement. Beyond that, our time is NOW! Our world’s current racial tensions show that there is a need, now, for Black and Brown leaders to create and transform spaces for our people, that benefit our youth and communities that advance us. Most recently my Pastor shared this quote and I immediately thought of Surge: “Purpose is not independent. There is purpose found in your partnership” – this is why Surge, and this is why now.”