Justice is Joyful when we Elevate Community
I’ve entered my tenth year working at TeamChild. As I reflect on these years that make up a large and meaningful chapter of my life, I am full of gratitude for the community that has formed around me. My community is my clients. Those clients who keep believing in me despite me feeling like I’m running out of ideas— despite my heart being worn by seeing the same systems treat client after client in similarly terrible ways. Those clients who welcome me into their own communities, who offer gifts of connection, culture sharing, and talking about whatever is on their mind. My community is those clients, all of whom are full of potential and who are ready to be a part of this ever slowly bending arc toward justice.
My community is my colleagues, who are categorically smarter and more generous than me. Those colleagues who have taught me everything I know about the law relevant to working with our clients. Those colleagues who had already been putting in long hours and put in even more to show me how to be an advocate who can get positive results with my clients. Those colleagues who will list all the reasons why a system’s actions are absurdly terrible and get progressively more worked up as they proceed in the list to the point that you eventually have to remind them that, “I know, I know. Now what are we going to do about it?” Those colleagues who call you back even when you didn’t leave a voicemail because they know you needed to talk even if you didn’t want to bother them with a voicemail. Those colleagues who will remember a client’s name and ask you about how they’re doing months after talking about their case. Those colleagues who are trying their best because they want the better world, too.
My community is change. I’ve been inspired by the written work of Octavia E. Butler and adrienne marie brown, and change, often by the efforts of the collective, is a common theme in their writing. My community is those in this world and these systems who are driving change. It is those people who don’t necessarily agree with me or my clients fully but are open to listening and seeing how they can use their power to change a policy, practice, and or action in an individual instance. It is those people who put people above ease, tradition, or their own biases. It is those efforts that are daily changing the world.
My community has inspired me and transformed me over this decade in which it has formed and transformed itself. Whatever the next decade brings my life, it’s this community that has shaped my values, cemented my purpose, and instilled in me a focus on community. I am forever grateful for that, and it is a truly joyful privilege to continue to seek justice through change in this world. My community is the foundation on which that privilege stands.