Over the past few months, in the midst of this giant, challenging mess we all find ourselves in, The Federation team has been talking to our members every week—on calls, and virtual meetings, and weekly check-ins on Thursdays. Hearing our member’s voices has been truly enriching and hopeful. It has been a weird benefit to come out of this weird time.
On one hand, the daily updates and requests and feedback have helped us to understand the new and emerging issues you are facing so that we can support you and advocate on your behalf quickly and efficiently. But at the same time, being more connected to our members has also enabled us to better support and appreciate and celebrate you as people. And the latter is just as important to us as the former.
We can sometimes forget that within our organizations and ministries, beneath the job titles and credentials, we are all just human beings, each trying to do our best in strange, new circumstances. Our colleagues and government contacts, everyone we work with, is a unique person with their own story and challenges and reasons for being drawn to, and sympathetic to, this kind of work.
We know that, as leaders in your organizations, you are doing everything you can to support and champion your teams and colleagues through an incredibly challenging time. And part of our job is to make sure that someone is supporting and championing you—both as the leader of an organization and as a person with your own real-life experiences that drew you to this sector and inform the way you show up in your work.
It is unfortunate that the system that we live in often attributes things like poverty, addiction, and mental health issues to personal failings of individuals rather than systemic inequities and disadvantages. The theoretically level playing field that capitalism needs us to buy into has caused a large swath of society to believe that such struggles are regrettable but also deserved. We are fighting that ideology and those systemic issues at the same time as we are fighting for access to PPE and fair wages and funding for training and more equitable procurement processes.
The stress our sector is under, the challenges we are facing, are both personal and political. And I believe we will be stronger and have a greater chance of making meaningful and lasting change if we are able to hold both of those truths at the same time.
We care about your organizations and we care about you as people. We will keep addressing the big, entrenched challenges our sector faces and we will keep doing whatever we can to support and empower and inspire you and your teams. The way that you keep showing up for your clients and communities is the way we are trying to show up for you—with care and creativity and compassion.
So if you need anything, tell us. If there is anything we can provide or create or offer to support you and your staff, please let us know. Online meditation training for staff wellness? More PPE? A relaxing conversation over lunch? Some refresher courses on anti-oppressive practice? A new template for press releases? Fun group painting activities over Zoom? You have been going above and beyond and you deserve someone to go above and beyond for you. Contact information for the entire Federation team can be found here. You can also reply to this email to request support or information or assistance.
These are hard times—and it’s been hard for a while now—but remember that you’ve accomplished hard things before. You are all doing an astounding job in unpredictable and uncontrollable circumstances. Keep drawing on your strengths and your experiences and your compassion and creativity. And know that when you need help, we will be there. We are committed to supporting you in every way we can just like you are committed to supporting your coworkers and clients and communities in every way you can.
You are more than your job title just like the people coming through your doors are more than the support they need. With everything we are up against right now, it’s important that your humanity gets as much care and attention as your to-do list and that is what we are striving to do.