by Naima Harrison
America is known as the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, but this is not always the case for many of our Participants and Visitors at Samaritan Ministry. Now, almost more than ever, it seems that division – over COVID-19, over the election, over BLM – amongst the people is growing and causing many individuals to feel trapped instead of free.
At Samaritan Ministry, we serve some of the most at-risk individuals in the DMV, individuals that know how it feels to be looked down on because of a past criminal record, because of skin color, or even socio-economic status. This division causes some of the brightest people to be left behind, just because they are different or don’t fit a particular ‘type’ of person. We know this is unfair and unjust. However, at the Southeast Anacostia office we are trying our best to show our Participants and Visitors (and our community!) that we are here for all, no matter what crimes they may have committed, how they look, or how much money they earn; they will know that the SE-Anacostia office is here to help! The office staff is made up of men and women that know and have dealt with injustice and inequality in their own lives, which is why we will continue to fight for the cause until our community is a safe space for all people. Unfortunately, the headlines are full of racial discrimination that has led to excessive prison terms, denial of employment, decreased home equity values, and even loss of life. We at SMGW are working on new strategies and approaches to fight these inequities by coming together as a team both to talk them through and to put them into practice.
Focusing on the needs of our Participants has always been our main focus, which is why, for example, we are working on grant funding that will assist with buying Participants chrome books, laptops or sim/ssd cards for their cell phones. We are also improving our SE-Anacostia location so that we can use the basement area for a laundry day. With money being tight and limited employment opportunities, SMGW wants to be able to release some of the stress from our Participants.
This is all great news and SMGW will continue to go above and beyond!