What a month this has been! The week of Sept. 14, we asked you to join us to recognize the people in our community that inspire change and fuel this paper. We took our 26th Annual Breakfast event online this year with the huge goal of raising $146,610 to support Real Change during this challenging time.
Thanks to you, we are very close to reaching that goal. Your support means that our vendors have opportunity, a voice, and the means to take action, and that we’re working toward a better future together.
This month you saw Vendor of the Year videos from the amazing Darrell Wrenn and Janice Dampier. Darrell reminded us of our collective strength. “To right this ship, it’s going to take all of us. We’re all one hand,” he said, forming a fist, “with separate fingers coming together.”
Janice tearfully spoke of what this community means to her and her family, and how Real Change staff supported her through hard times. “I feel like I’m achieving something! It was like back home. It was just love! You do the right thing, you make your money, and good things come. That’s why they say Real Change. Because it’s real.”
You heard from COVID-19 Mutual Aid, our 2020 Change Agent awardee, and from former editor Rosette Royale, who won our Editorial Excellence Award for his continued work for justice. We recognized Juan Montes and Cathy Clemens, two of the more than 200 volunteers who help make our work possible each year.
And you also heard from Debbie Nichols, a woman whose life turned toward addiction after a devastating life event, who found the support and courage to embrace success and sobriety through her community of Real Change friends.
These are deeply troubling times, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the fierce urgency of now. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and love at the center of our vision.
When I see the strength of this community, and the love that you show our vendors each and every day, I see the foundation upon which a better future is built.
We are truly all in this together.
We are inspired that about 250 of you joined our Imagine Change panel discussion this month to hear visionary leaders Nikkita Oliver, Juan Jose Bocanegra and Sharon Lee talk about the opportunities and challenges of this moment.
As we work to end racist policing and build new opportunities for communities of color, fix a broken revenue system that is at the root of growing radical inequality, and house the most vulnerable, we are challenged to mirror the world we want to see in the ways that we treat each other.
In other words, when times are tough, the tough embrace kindness. This is the essence of our community, and I see this kindness animating our work every day.
I see it in your overwhelming support for our vendors as we have worked to keep everyone whole during the challenges of COVID-19.
You have generously supported our work while also helping our vendors directly, both through your Venmo donations to vendors and your gifts to support the Real Change food bank. These acts of kindness have made the hard times a little easier. For this we are profoundly grateful.
You have made it possible for us to sustain this community and keep people safe while we work to support our vendors in new ways.
With your help, we are tantalizingly close to reaching our critical fundraising goal. With $140,093.50 raised over the past month, your generous support over the next few days will take us over the top.
Please make your gift today at tinyurl.com/ImagineChange2020. Your everyday kindness keeps the Real Change family strong.
Tim Harris is the Founding Director Real Change and has been active as a poor people’s organizer for more than two decades. Prior to moving to Seattle in 1994, Harris founded street newspaper Spare Change in Boston while working as Executive Director of Boston Jobs with Peace. He can be reached at director (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2020 issue.