Part of our mission is to identify systemic, unmet needs of our community that underline poverty, and engage in education and action to address those needs. Below is a snapshot of our recent and upcoming efforts in this area.
A key part of what we do through our network of partners, donors and other stakeholders is continually raise awareness of the systemic disadvantages faced by the population we serve. This part of our community faces challenges in areas that can include education, housing, unemployment/underemployment, and overall financial insecurity. Even prior to the current COVID-19 crisis they were on the edge of poverty, and that has now been significantly amplified. These are primarily people of color, who also face systemic disadvantages due to the structural and institutional racism that sadly remain embedded in our society.
We are increasing our activity to work toward lasting, positive change in society. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and all those fighting hatred and injustice in our world. Several of our senior staff recently participated in the 16th Street Vigil Against Racism, and we intend to do more, in more visible ways, in the coming weeks and months.
We are heartened at the breadth and depth of participation in the recent protests, and we hope and pray that this energy continues until real, lasting change is achieved. This is our community. These are the people we serve. We are ready to listen, learn, and do our part to help resolve the deep-seated racism in our nation. Please join us in working to become the change we want to see in the world.
We all have a lot to learn, and it doesn’t happen without putting in the work. Within our organization we’ve begun an internal program called racial justice roundtables, where staff and volunteers meet regularly to consider and recommend new ways that SMGW can respond to and address issues of systemic racism and racial equity both in our organization and the broader community we serve. We’ve also implemented racial education in our volunteer training. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to join our book club, where we dive deeper into these issues by reading books such as Chocolate City- you can read about our discussion here.