“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The last couple of days have been quite heavy. It seems as if there are new developments on the spread of COVID-19 each hour, and nearly every aspect of our lives has been affected far beyond what we could’ve imagined. There are some of us who have been fortunate enough to be able to work from home, have groceries in our fridge, and good health for our loved ones. Yet, we continue to think of the many who are on the other side of the spectrum, and we carry them in our hearts and spirits. We are all hurting – either directly or indirectly.

At Surge, we’ve had the honor of elevating and supporting over 150 transformative leaders of color across the education and youth-serving ecovillage: our Surge Fellows and Alumni. These are individuals who work to dismantle oppressive structures and systems and seek to provide better education opportunities and a brighter future for our young people. They tackle giants daily – and win! But our work to support them hasn’t been done alone. The partnership of executive coaches, speakers and faculty as well as the generosity of our community of funders and partners has been vital to the learning and growth that occurs through the Surge experience.

Now our community has another giant to tackle.

This is NOT business as usual. COVID-19 is a giant unknown that is impacting our daily lives and will have impacts that are difficult for us to imagine. However, when we think of giants, we also think of the greatness of our ancestors. They who envisioned a better future for us, our children, and our children’s children – and made innumerable sacrifices and endured unthinkable resistance to help us realize it. We think about the leaders, mentors, and fighters who sought unity for us all – the kind of unity we’re seeing across the globe and in our own backyards: from playing music for an entire community off of one’s balcony all the way to hosting virtual sessions where we can be together, hold space and ground each other.

We all must ground ourselves in the power of who we are.

We acknowledge that stress and anxiety understandably abound during this time. And it would be easy to let ourselves fall into despair. But, we believe this page in history will be defined by our ability to truly come together for the good of us all – rooted in love and the inextricable ties that bind us. 

We want to affirm you all in what you’re feeling at this time, and encourage you to prioritize your physical and mental health as well as that of your loved ones. Take the breaks you need from your work, from the news, and from social media. The Surge Leadership team has already taken the necessary precautions for our health and safety, and we will continue to adapt to what is our current reality. The Surge Fellowship and Surge Academy will also continue for our 2020 fellows with some adjustments but with an even stronger emphasis on being in community, even if “community” looks a little different than it has in the past.

The water will clear.

This cloud will pass.

This chapter will end.

As we navigate this journey, if you have the means, we encourage you to invest in the effort to support those most in need. The Surge Relief Fund seeks to provide resources, such as food and technology, to impacted communities. Please consider donating what you can, if you can.

We are learning a lot about who we are as a collective and discovering what is most important at the end of the day. Let’s continue to keep everyone in our hearts, check in on one another, and embrace those who need it the most at this time.

In love and community,

Carmita Semaan
Founder and President
Surge Institute

Darryl Cobb
National Board President
Surge Institute