In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court rulings, and amid ongoing revelations from the January 6th hearings, many of us are feeling scared, vulnerable, and uncertain about our future.
It’s important to remember that so many of the difficult feelings of this moment now are what our clients have long experienced as their daily reality. Returning citizens come home to us from a place where almost every right and choice is taken away from them. Our clients who sleep rough face danger every night, as witnessed by the shooter who targeted the homeless this winter. Our clients understand despair, because they have faced hunger, deportation, violence, and indignity but continued on. There is wisdom to be received from people who have gone on this journey before us and endured.
Our clients have helped me understand how interconnected all these issues are – not just violence created by greater access to guns and the loss of personal freedom for women, but also mass incarceration, Black Lives Matter, the housing crisis, the spread of COVID-19, and so many more injustices. We live in a society that privileges a few by exploiting the many. When the poor and marginalized are considered disposable, there is infinite room at the bottom for more groups of people to join them in suffering. We will not be a free society until we are able to meet the needs of all our members. We will not be free until everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.
In the wake of so much injustice, there is nothing as discouraging as the feeling of powerlessness – the feeling that we are too small to affect change or that things are out of our control. But when faced with powerlessness, there is nothing so encouraging as action, and nothing so inspiring as defying the powerful to create change, no matter how small.
This is the vision of Thrive DC, and what we strive to model both within our walls and in the world at large. It is a vision we recommit ourselves to every day, especially in the face of injustice. In the wake of outrage, we offer a sanctuary within a world of oppression, and call on everyone to take action with us to create a city and world where everyone has what they need to succeed and no one is considered disposable.
For all our clients–whether they are returning citizens, people without homes, or families on the edge of instability–Thrive DC is a place of safety, caring, and compassion for anyone who walks through our doors feeling unsafe and out of choices.
This remains as true this week as it was when we began our work 42 years ago, and remains true also for volunteers, donors, and staff. What makes Thrive DC unique is not only the services we provide, but the authentic community we create through our mission. Through our daily work, we make a healing space of belonging and care for everyone who needs it.
If you are feeling fear or despair right now, I encourage you to consider including Thrive DC as part of your healing journey. I’ve been volunteering at Thrive DC for over 13 years because I continue to experience a strong sense of belonging in the Thrive community. I hope you can likewise feel engaged in a supportive community while you help others struggling against the same forces of oppression.