It has been such an amazing experience to be part of an organization intentionally created to be a disruptive influence. To be asked to challenge the status quo and to advance equity, even when it unsettles us.
I like order and process, logic and strategy. But sometimes the need for all that order gets in the way when people in the community are hurting. We can’t always wait for the perfectly planned solution in order to meet needs. In other words, we cannot sit idle while people around us suffer.
I have had many opportunities to bear witness to the creativity and generosity of ordinary people, stepping out of their daily routine to help communities in crisis. Many of you know that North Sound ACH has embedded targeted universalism into our work — agreeing on a universal goal while employing multiple strategies for diverse communities to reach that goal. Whether we’re talking about our application and hiring process, or how to get food to people displaced by flooding, there are always multiple approaches that can meet the needs of people in need. It does require us to keep remembering our universal goal, and not get caught up in whether we agree or not on specific strategies.
I try to describe choices as always having tension. Imagine a large rubber band in front of you, one end is choice 1 and the other is choice 2. In reality, all along the rubber band are options, if we choose one, it pulls and strains on the other options. There are few perfect answers, but many options that have an impact – positive to some, challenging to others, depending on our perspective. We constantly have to ask ourselves, who is impacted by this decision (or indecision); who does it advantage or disadvantage? Whose voices have shaped and influenced the decision under consideration?
We are in the middle of multiple disasters and must find ways to keep people at the center of our goals and objectives. Processes should support our end goals, not get in the way of meeting them.
We need to do better. The person next to us might need our help and compassion. The child in front of us might be our doctor or mayor or librarian in 25 years. Our job is to prepare others to lead. At least that is my job, and I am grateful to have it.