By C. Kahalifa King
Generally, I do not have much to say to folks regarding certain issues that negatively impact our community. Largely in part because I believe it just falls on deaf ears of those that are considered to be “players” in the community, political, business, educational, and judicial arenas. But, this time I felt compelled to speak to this email received by Jim Sanders. There seems to be a systematic and strategic attack on our community. Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to be puppets on a string, being pulled by bigger “players”, called puppet masters. (At times they are invisible)
I extend my most regrettable condolences! This is truly a death and a loss to the community at large! I send many thanks to you, your staff, and the collaboration partners for the various opportunities, of support, hope and healing. Although we may never really know all of the circumstances that led to this loss, I’m sure that some, if not most believe it was avoidable. Unfortunately, most community-led efforts that close, split up, taken over, underfunded, squeezed out, fail, etc., are just that,………………………avoidable!
There has been much focus on, and attention given (funding, AB109) to the major issues surrounding the release and return from incarceration to home and community including issues of cultural disproportionality and disparity. There has been Federal, State and Local monies invested to serve this sector of our society, yet those that do need it most, and those that do the work (in the trenches), that establish trust, that develop homegrown support systems and services (effectively), actually do not receive the lion share of those “ear-marked” funds, i.e., (CHTS). The same people and agencies as well as new ones that move into the community continue to get funded, without including homegrown agencies to sit at the planning table. Funders, regardless of the source, know exactly what they are doing, and why! Yes, I suggest that those homegrown agencies that have been doing the work, that are successful, are targeted for closure. (This is a crisis)! Although we cannot minimize our own culpability, it may not matter if these closures are exacted by scandal, sabotage, underfunding, policy-making or lack of support, etc. The effort should be in how to save and salvage the agency for sustainability! There is so much to be said about all of this, and even much more to be investigated! We do have a lot of data to challenge and support our collective concerns. Returning from incarceration has its own set of issues, i.e.; PTSD, Employment, Physical/Mental Health, Housing, Poverty, bias, etc. and these are just openers. But, oh well,………………………….….
Unless and until we as a community, come together for real unity for self-determination beyond survival, there will be more services, organizations, even business, that will be nothing more than a memory. We must patronize, purchase from, trust, and do business with our own! We cannot allow special and national interest to control local outcomes. We can no longer sit by the wayside in the hopes that others will save us and provide for us while dividing us by exploiting our historical and collective weaknesses. I believe we can advocate for fairness and equity towards the funder, even if we are receiving funds from them. We can advocate for both: unify our community resources, and use funder’s resources as well. This is part of sustainability!!! After all, it (advocacy) may be part of your mission, vision and purpose. I hope that this current situation with “Coming Home To Stay” is corrected, urgently! (Too bad it didn’t happen with The Palavra Tree)
Our agency (Harmonious Solutions), is very grateful for your commitment to serving our community and our returning residents. In the grand scheme of things, in spite of the multitudes your have assisted, your work was just barely getting started! How did this budget line item get overlooked as a “priority” funding service? Thank you for allowing us to be a partner at the table in service delivery. Thank you for trusting us with service family!
Well this is my two cents, there is so much more I wish to say, however, I will close with my questions; what do you want to do, and how can I help?
Peace and Blessings,
C. Kahalifa King