In our mission statement, Kieve Wavus Education vows to “empower people to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through year-round experiential programs, camps for youth and adults, and guidance from inspirational role models.”
For nearly a century, we’ve worked to ensure our mission is more than an aspiration. We have expanded our programs beyond the summer months, adapting to support different people and issues along the way. Kieve Wavus Education now serves public, independent and charter schools, Maine’s immigrant community, victims of 9/11, combat veterans and their families, cancer patients and survivors, the LGBTQ+ community in Maine and, most recently, the Lincoln County Food Initiative. We are especially dedicated to instilling our core values of kindness and respect in the young people we serve, destined to one day teach and lead us all.
In fact, they are doing that now. Inspired by a group of Wavus alums, members from across our community have expressed their support for people of color and social justice. Their voices are a testament to KWE’s mission of empowerment. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black Americans reflect a culture of systemic racism that exists in direct opposition to KWE’s core tenet: Everybody has the right to be treated with kindness and respect.
We believe KWE can do more to pursue social justice for people of color, and we will always be an organization whose actions speak louder than its words. Black lives matter, promoting social justice matters, and our actions will always reflect our belief in these statements. Therefore:
We will create a permanent space for people of color in our community to share their experiences and inform KWE’s social justice work.
We will continue to examine how best to acknowledge the relationship between the Wabanaki Nations and the land on which KWE’s campuses exist.
We will collaborate with resources from outside KWE to broaden our perspective.
And we will listen to each of you who feels compelled to participate in this endeavor.
Actions that create change require authenticity and room for all voices to be heard. With our whole hearts, we’re grateful to those empowered to act and we welcome your support and ideas.
These days, it seems easier to speak loudly to feign confidence than it does to listen to build empathy. We strive to be an organization that listens and then acts.
Together, we will be better.
Henry Kennedy, Charlie Richardson, Kate Kaplan, Sam Kennedy, Sam Kaplan, and the Kieve Wavus Education Board of Trustees