Gratitude – In Community
Artwork by Molly Costello, used with permission via Art for Community; Quotes by Miriame Kaba: Instead of trying to fix what we have, Abolition invites us to ask, “What can we imagine for ourselves and the world?” If we do this, “Boundless possibilities of a more just world await us.”
These last two years have been filled with challenges: for each of us individually, for the collective, and for our movements to uphold human rights. And because of these very real, very grave challenges, it is both easy and perfectly understandable to feel broken under the weight of the work. At TeamChild, we are working to find new and creative ways to support each other across our statewide offices – and while I say “new,” in fact one of the most meaningful strategies is the most enduring one. It’s about making space for relationships and our own humanity.
Just the other week, a group of us gathered virtually – attorneys and non-attorneys alike – to share reflections on Patrisse Cullors’ An Abolitionist’s Handbook. We focused on Chapters 10 and 11, which are about building community and valuing our interpersonal relationships. It felt like a timely moment to consider these themes – and I was amazed and honored by the incredible vulnerability and depth of wisdom shared in our virtual gathering. It made me feel, as I hope you feel as well, so very honored to support TeamChild’s work.
I joined TeamChild in May, passionate about youth justice but new to the work of legal aid. One of the greatest joys in my work thus far has been in sharing spaces with, and therefore learning from, our attorneys and program team. Individual case work is filled with the difficulty of partnering with individual young people on repeat, and seeing the embedded challenges in systems involvement. Too often, our staff are seeing resounding failures that go so far beyond one person’s case, one person’s barrier to access. And at the same time, there is such possibility – and joy, too – in helping break down barriers and navigate complex systems. Helping a young person find a bed for the night doesn’t really feel like a win – but it is absolutely worth celebrating.
In my life, I have had the great joy of being in meditative community where we have asked our darkest feelings a question: “What do you have to teach me?” Sometimes, we ask and there is no answer. For days, for weeks, for years even. That’s okay. The meaning is in being present enough to ask the question at all.
What I am grateful for in this season is this: our incredible staff, and our amazing clients. Together, we are celebrating each other, connecting to each other, and finding moments of respite and resilience in work that will outlive all of us (the work to transform our systems for the better for all). Only together can we make seeking justice joyful, as Patrisse Cullors might say.
I am grateful for your support of the work to advance justice, and always look forward to opportunities to connect to each and every one of you. Onward, together, in community.