Real Change rounds the corner next month to celebrating 22 years of love and community. This follows on the amazing success of our spring fund drive. With the help of more than 800 supporters, we are within $1,000 of meeting our goal of $205,000 raised.
The Sept. 15 Real Change Annual Breakfast is where our community becomes visible, and stands up to support opportunity, a voice and our commitment to economic, social and racial justice.
It is where 500 of our closest friends gather to support our work, and where our vendors get to see who has their backs.
And it comes when our typical summer cash flow valley means that we need your support.
Real Change is one of the few organizations out there born from the fact that homelessness is the ultimate expression of social abandonment at the federal and state levels.
As more and more of the very poor are relegated to our streets and prisons to be discarded as surplus humanity, they experience the devastating effects of systemic dehumanization. The antidote to that dehumanization is love and community.
Love is an exalted term for what happens when any of us takes the small risk of reaching out to someone in need. Someone who may make a demand upon our conscience that makes us uncomfortable. Someone who may not love us back.
Love is unselfish. And in unselfish acts, there is hope.
Love, it has been said, is a verb. Compassion, the Dalai Lama, has said, consists of responsibility paired with action.
We, each of us, are both the problem and the solution. When we feel our responsibility and act out of love, no matter how feebly at first, we take a step toward the world that we, together, must create.
Real Change is a vehicle for compassion, and the relationships this newspaper fosters are transformational at both the personal and policy levels.
We are, first and foremost, a project of humanization.
We at Real Change have done the work of visioning, planning, and building for sustained effectiveness in the years to come. We do this out of a sense of great responsibility to our vendors.
We have committed to increase vendor success, activist engagement and building vendor power. We have sharpened our focus on the intersection of race and class in our social-justice advocacy, in our relationships with vendors and in the content of this newspaper.
We have expanded the leadership-development opportunities for those we serve, and doubled down on being a voice of the poor.
And, as always, we are tending to our foundation, ensuring that Real Change has the resources and leadership to carry us into an uncertain future.
For more than two decades, Real Change has stood as an effective opponent of the criminalization of poverty. As radical inequality persists and grows, increases in homelessness are often a trigger for repressive legislation that prefers punishment to effectiveness.
That’s why we’re thrilled to share that our keynote speaker at this year’s gathering is Seattle University School of Law Professor Sara Rankin.
As Director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, Professor Rankin has brought attention and analysis to the criminalization of homelessness across Washington State.
She’s been a valuable collaborator in our advocacy, a resource for our legislative reporting and an effective and visionary organizer.
Please mark your calendars now for an uplifting celebration of success, and a eye-opening view of recent legislative trends: The 22nd Real Change Annual Breakfast.
You can support our work by attending as an individual, or help us gain new support as a Table Captain by inviting your friends and colleagues. There is no charge for attending, but a donation of $100 or more is suggested. We are always thrilled to see new people supporting our work, at any level they can afford.
For more information or to register, go to bit.ly/celebrate22 or email [email protected]. Thank you.