Yani Burgos worked at ECM for the last three years, playing a core role in our grant programs and senior leadership team. We are grateful to Yani for sharing her closing reflections this month.
Image Description: twelve members of the ECM team stand for a group photo at Annual Celebration.
What's my role? A Closing Reflection by Yani Burgos
"Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose
the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution,
but more usually
we must do battle where we are standing."
--Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
When my colleague Carly asked me to consider writing a reflection as I approached the end of my time with ECM, I enthusiastically agreed - and, within the hour, regretted that choice.
This regret came not because of overwhelm or misunderstanding the task. In fact, I eagerly blocked time in my calendar to write, to reflect, and to give time for her and others to review my thoughts before sharing it more broadly. But it quickly dawned on me - my time with this organization is coming to a close. And facing that, alongside all the gratitude and hopes I have for ECM and the communities that continue to work with this institution, was like realizing the pond water was colder than you expected.
In reflecting on some of the ways I've contributed to the work we've done together, I want to share with y'all an activity the ECM staff did to start 2019 together, and offer some of my self-reflection. Deepa Iyer, Author of We Too Sing America , offered a reflective tool to support individuals and organizations. Like many of us, she experienced 2018 as a "seesaw of outrage and numbness," which I have experienced as unsustainable ways to work. She has since updated the questions for a midyear check in .
Answering these questions today, like in January, agitates me. I love to contribute to the work of justice what I think I am best at - which, in the diagram below, would be caregiver, and occasionally healer. But at ECM, I've learned the importance of noticing what roles I might need to play because, well, it's needed. And making choices to, for example, be a bridge-builder when it is needed of me feels incredibly risky. What if I make a mistake? What if I do more harm than good? What if, what if, what if?
The words of Audre Lorde above, however, remind me that the "what if"'s my mind throws at me are important...but sometimes, we do battle where we stand.
Image Description: a diagram titled My Role in a Social Change Ecosystem. A large circle reads "equity inclusion liberation justice solidarity resiliency interdependency" and smaller circles surround the large circle, each labeled with a different role, builders, healers, artists, storytellers, bridge builders, frontline responders, caregivers, disrupters, visionaries
Take Action

Keep Families Together: Advocate for Immigrant Families in Public Housing

On May 10, 2019, HUD published a proposed rule that would prohibit "mixed-status" families from living in public/subsidized housing. Mixed-status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Currently, families can live together in federally subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible.

More than 55,000 children face eviction under the proposed rule.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Submit a public comment by July 9, 2019. Download the guide to submitting a comment.

Immigration Accompaniment and Advocacy
ECM is collaborating with the Canon for Immigration & Multicultural Ministries to support parishes across the Diocese to act for immigrant justice. There are two ways to act:
(1) Accompaniment - provide transportation, allyship, and spiritual and material support for immigrants navigating the immigration and criminal justice system
  • Boston - Join the Beyond Network: bit.ly/joinbijan
  • Burlington - Join the Burlington Cluster: Contact: Pam Chester, pgachester@gmail.com and 617-484-6088
  • Metrowest - Join the Metrowest Immigration Solidarity Network: Contact: framcompaneras@gmail.com
(2) Advocacy - advocate in your community for the passage of the Safe Communities Act and Driver's Licenses for undocumented immigrants For more information about how to be involved in these campaigns, contact Carly@episcopalcitymission.org
Read here the exciting news about the New York Legislature approving drivers licenses for undocumented neighbors.

Feel free to share the information above in your parish newsletters.  
Recent News from ECM
ECM Welcomes Hazel M. Johnson!
ECM is excited to welcome Hazel M. Johnson as our new Manager of Leadership Development.
"Patient God, instill in me a desire for honesty and authenticity in my walk with you. Open my eyes to catch you as you slip through corners in the boxes I foolishly create for you."
- Enuma Okoro in Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert's Search for Spiritual Community
In June 2012, Hazel Monae Johnson found herself sitting in a small closet-like room on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary. In that tiny room the large question of the conference fell on her spirit: "Why Serve?" In a room full of people who seemed to know the answer to that question, "I don't know why I feel called," she whispered to her facilitator. By the end of that week her facilitator gave her Enuma Okoro's book and it has forever changed her life. In the book's opening prayer (written above), she finds her own theology - a theology that says that God and God's dreams for her are bigger than anything she can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). It is this theology that brings Hazel to ECM.
Hazel is an extroverted introvert who enjoys seeing the world through travel, eating spicy food and laughing heartily. Hazel grew up in California and Nevada. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University in 2011 and her Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in 2019. During her M.Div., Hazel completed a Religion and Conflict Transformation Certificate program, created an Ethical Leadership Development Curriculum for emerging leaders, served two terms as the President of the Student Association and was inducted into the Boston University School of Theology Student Leadership Society.
Image Description: Hazel sits on steps outside a building. There is a small stack of books between her feet - the top book reads "Strangers to Family"

Community Reflections on Annual Celebration

Image Description: Dr. Miguel De La Torre stands behind a pulpit and addresses a large crowd seated around round dinner tables.
Last week, more than 400 people joined ECM for our 2019 Annual Celebration. We heard an incisive address from Reverend Dr. Miguel De La Torre on "Disrupting Hope". Here are excerpted reflections from our community members -- read their full comments on the ECM Blog. 

The Rev. Isaac Provencio Martinez
I hope to create new communities throughout my ordained ministry, especially for Christians like me-colonized, marginalized, oppressed, dispossessed-where our desperation to live provokes us to celebrate sacraments in ways that make sense for us and to create common prayer in our own words and rhythms, which will help us decolonize our minds. To that work, I am thankful that I can now add the disruptive, prophetic thinking of Dr. De La Torre.

The Rev. Noble Scheepers
Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, keynote speaker, understood full well that we live in the face of hostility towards minorities, and with continued persecution, injustice, and white supremacy, it is time to apply radical solidarity. The awards given to well-deserved persons were indeed commendable gestures of true virtue, especially when hearing the stories of Marius, stuck in detention for 6 months. I felt a deep, intrinsic wave of the "revolutionary" true character of God in action. "Onward Christian Soldiers!"

The Rev. Canon Edie Dolnikowski
Just as our Presiding Bishop has reminded us that love is a spiritual discipline not a sentimental feeling, Miguel De La Torre encouraged us to hope in a spiritually disciplined way.  He challenged us to embrace true hope, which demands engagement in, not avoidance of, the hard work of racial reconciliation and economic justice. I am eager for our churches to take this challenge to heart!
Celebrate ECM Awardees
We were honored to recognize three awardees at Annual Celebration! Read more about their work on the ECM Blog.
M. Thomas Shaw Award for Social and Economic Justice: Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester Robert W. Tobin Award for Social Justice: BIJAN Network Barbara C. Harris Award for Social Justice : Reverend Ema Rosero-Nordalm
ECM is Hiring!
ECM is hiring for three positions! Join our team  in this urgent moment in our country and exciting time in our organization's life.

Episcopal City Mission (ECM) is looking for a committed, energetic and high-performing organizer to work with our lead organizer, developing our leadership base across Episcopal communities in Massachusetts and organizing teams to take justice-based action.

Click here for a full job description

Episcopal City Mission (ECM) is looking for a committed, energetic and high-performing team member to manage all aspects of ECM's grants programs: Burgess Urban Fund, Parish Partnerships, Wider Community Partnerships and Amos Fund from publicizing availability to evaluation and follow up with grantees.

Episcopal City Mission (ECM) is looking for a committed, energetic and high-performing team member to develop and implement strong strategic communications. 

ECM Partners
The Gift of Hopelessness: Reflections on Life Together
Meredith Wade offers their reflections on hopelessness and truth-telling in the season of Pentecost and the season of transition as they complete their second year in Life Together, a faith-based community organizing fellowship cultivating young people as prophetic leaders.
I recently had the opportunity to give a sermon reflecting on my work at St. James's Cambridge, the congregation where I spent the last two years serving as a Life Together fellow. I could've easily stood up at the pulpit and talked about how I succeeded there, all of the things I accomplished, all the moments that prove I am smart enough, capable enough, and good enough for this work. But what I am most grateful for as I end my time there, and especially as I grapple with my hopelessness, is that St. James's gave me the opportunity to fail.


Roxane Gay says that in these dark and tumultuous times, hope is a cop-out. Simply hoping allows us to "abdicate responsibility" for what comes next. I have often been guilty of squeezing my eyes shut and hoping for the best, rather than taking a step - however shaky - into the unknown to discover what is possible. If success means never taking risks big enough to make a mistake, I don't want it. We are called here not to live safely within what we have seen to be possible. In fact, there is reason to believe that limiting ourselves thusly is killing us.

We are called here to take risks worthy of all that we stand to lose, which is to say, all that we have the privilege of loving in this world. And the only way to know we are taking steps big enough is to fail. Read the rest of Meredith's reflections on the ECM Blog.

Coming Soon at ECM
Reflect on "Disrupting Hope"
Are you interested in taking part in a follow-up conversation (either by conference call or in-person) to discuss and reflect on the Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre's keynote address at Annual Celebration? Please contact Dan Gelbtuch, dan@episcopalcitymission.org