I’ve been writing here on be the future for four years! I have written nearly 200 posts since I started blogging in 2019. Over the years, these posts have helped me refine my ideas and explore new ones I’ve learned about. They’re also an avenue for me to share my successes and challenges with others. This year I wrote a lot about community, my own and the ones I see or work with. That shows up in this list for sure!
These are the 5 posts of 2023 that I think stand out from the rest.
What can the police offer in a conversation about safety? A police officer can’t end homelessness. They can’t solve community food insecurity. Police budgets go up whether the crime rate goes up or down. Instead, police officers respond to most situations by escalating violence, not ending it. In Seattle, police kill more people than twice the national average. Put another way, a police officer in Seattle kills 1 out of every 10 people who die by homicide. These deaths rise even with federal oversight. They’re more likely to happen to people who are Black, queer, trans, poor, or houseless. Imagine leading a conversation on safety when you’re 10% of the reason why the community is unsafe.
The people who received my email took it seriously. The group’s dynamic changed after I left. In a short period of time, they began to make progress on a lot of the issues I had encouraged them to address. I’m grateful for how my story turned out because I know it doesn’t always happen. This group has more work to do, of course. No organization under racial injustice and vulture capitalism is perfect. But in this case, leaving might have been the one action I could take to help them get to a place that my presence could not.
Try saying, “this could be a hardship for our clients to provide this information. Can we make it optional?” Ask questions on behalf of your client. “If they aren’t comfortable sharing their home address, how can we still serve them?” Funders are humans, just like us, just like the people we’re serving. They just have a different level of power in this situation. Take the time to educate people about why their questions may not be as innocent as they seem.
After the first few people go, I can feel the virtual room start to relax. People who have done this before don’t rush. Nobody’s looking at the time. If your answer needs context, you can give it. When I answered the icebreaker about my spiritual practice, I had to give the whole backstory. I couldn’t have done it justice in the thirty seconds we usually allow in meetings. The same is true for everyone’s stories, too. Most of my introductions echo or call back something I heard somebody else say in theirs. We formed a connection without talking about anything more serious than ourselves.
I still remember the evening of the day I came out as gay. I called my parents. I called my sister. I called my best friend. I told my roommate. I called more and more people as the night went on. I sent emails to even more. Every single person I talked to that night helped me cart away another wheelbarrow of doubt. I was doing it! I was beginning to get free.
This is my last post of 2023. I’m taking next week off for the holidays and will be back in action starting in January!