Let's challenge the status quo.
I'm looking for colleagues in the non-profit and public sectors, especially those of us in organizations that support marginalized populations, ready to lead a shift toward a justice approach to our work, rather than a charity approach.
I want us to move some of our energy and resources toward fighting the policies and systems that marginalized these folks in the first place, and continue to hold them down.
While we're at it, let's also interrogate our own programs and make sure that we are taking a rights-based approach ourselves, and never inadvertently asking the people we support to swap one human right for another when accessing our services.
Let's also check and make sure our hiring and compensation practices within our own organizations don't perpetuate the problem.
Shifting from doing something because we are good people who help others, to doing it because the person we are helping holds a set of rights that are being violated can seem subtle, but getting clear on that 'why' will almost certainly have implications on our 'how'.
Poverty is rooted in policy choices. So is homelessness, and food insecurity, and a hundred other big hairy problems that charities are supposed to be solving but can't.
Let's challenge the narratives that prop up these systems of wild power imbalances that we can no longer pretend aren't there. Let's ask uncomfortable questions. Let's hold each other accountable.
I'm hoping that if like me, you worked to support marginalized people through 2020, you are fed up, and ready to punch up and disrupt the way our sector works.
I'm not selling anything and I don't have all the answers, but this shift is needed. I'd like to create some space here for us to collaborate, and I have a few ideas to contribute - some alternate narratives, to help us change the story and challenge the status quo together, whether it be in staff meetings, board meetings, or meetings with our elected policymakers.
So that's what I'll be serving up here moving forward - rants, riffs, and alternate narratives to help us, as John Lewis famously said, "make good trouble." The site is under construction to reflect this shift. I hope you'll stick around.
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