Greetings Missouri Community Action Network,
By the time you receive the November edition of Network Connection, Election Day will have come and gone for our nation. As of this writing, though, it is only a few days away and I’m looking forward to exercising my right to vote. Having been an employee and member of the Community Action movement for a little over seven years now, I am more deeply committed to my civic duty. I would guess that most of our jobs today, regardless of our roles, would not exist without the advocacy and activism efforts that spurred the creation of Community Action. Those efforts, and so many efforts since, have propelled our movement for over 55 years! Has your connection with Community Action been a call to action, or a call to more action, for you?
It certainly has for me.
At the heart of each of our agency’s missions is the commitment to serve those living with poverty and to address the conditions and suffering caused by a lack of financial and other basic resources in our communities. Donna Beegle, a longtime anti-poverty advocate, recently shared this question on social media:
“Do you believe that ending poverty and racism starts with you?”
She went on to say, “Every single one of us has to do deep identity work to unveil our own attitudes and beliefs about poverty, racism, and the people impacted by both.” Of course, she’s spot-on. But I would add that if you believe ending poverty and racism starts with you, it is equally important to engage with your local, state, and federally elected leaders and political processes. Through deep identity work and through advocacy, we should elevate and further the interests of the poor and those who’ve been marginalized for far too long.
When discussing this election, a colleague of mine identified 2020 as a “crucible moment” for our nation and more specifically for those of us in Community Action. A crucible moment is, by definition, a transformative experience by which an individual, or in this case, a collective of individuals, comes to an altered or new sense of identity.
We have been challenged this year in so many ways. In Community Action, we’ve been faced with our identity and what it’s become over time. We have been called to develop a renewed focus; to pick up the mantle once again against the institutionalized isms that perpetuate suffering, oppression, and lack of economic power.
Do you feel that in your community? In your Community Action?
I truly hope so. And if you have, what are you doing in response?
Advocate, act, and fight for equity.
Exercise your civil rights and civic duties—on behalf of you and your family, yes.
But also on behalf of those you serve as an employee of Community Action.