I’m often approached by acquaintances who ask me, “How in the world can you keep at this all the time? Where do you get the energy, find the hope to slog through the highs and lows of this kind of work?”
I’m pretty sure they’re really asking, “Why aren’t you doing something simpler, easier or safer?” And I tell them that it’s because I know I’m one of many people who are cut out for this work. In my heart, I know I’m not in this alone.
Part of how I know this is because I put myself in spots where I can see who is in it with me. Here at MRG, I get to talk to grantees, grantmakers and our donors every day – and I can guarantee you, it’s worth keeping up the fight because we’re (and yes, this means you too) in such good company.
In early June, I spent a day with our community grantmakers as they met in Eugene to interview our most recent grantees. The same weekend, I continued on to Southern Oregon, for time to get to know our community there better. As it turns out, I was privileged to be in the home turf of two of the groups that the grantmakers recommended for grants that same weekend: Red Earth Descendents and Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice. These are two powerful grassroots groups committed to creating a more culturally and economically sustainable Oregon.
When I look at this latest grants list (LINK), I see groups I know and respect, from Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality to Oregon Rural Action in LaGrande, to MindFreedom Oregon in Eugene (to name just a few). I also see new and emerging groups like the Momentum Alliance in Portland. These groups work hard for each and every accomplishment in the short-term, and they’re weaving these short-term victories into long-term change on their issue.
When I look at the grants list, I see groups whose leaders I have known for years, who have been part of the MRG community as donors and volunteer leaders (like Crag Law Center’s co-director Chris Winter).
When I look at the grants list, I know many of the communities they call home. So I know I have allies all over Oregon, the state I call home. I can picture the faces of their leaders – heroes and she-roes that I know from all the different struggles for justice where I have a stake.
When I look at the grants list, the truth pops up at me: that I’m one of many justice-seekers who are committed to opening up the doors to justice, equity and inclusion, to close out racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism and ageism. Whatever I do, I do it in solidarity with all who are poised to achieve civil rights no matter our sexual orientation, disability, age, ethnicity, or locale.
Yes, I’m an unabashed justice seeker; a full-time believer in modeling justice. I gladly go daily into the fight for justice, joining hands and holding onto freedom and justice for all.
I’m in it for the long-term, and I know I’m not in this alone.