September's Founder's Donation Event was in Lewisburg.
We raised: $0
Number of participants: 1 Police Officer (All Events are free for Police, and elected officials!)
Total average donation per person: $0
One person, Chief Yost, came out the the Lewisburg Founder's Donation Event. I was appreciative of Chief Yost's attendance, and the time he spent at the event discussing the issue of racism from his position.
One thing that rang true for me, when I interviewed Diana Dunn, a co-founder Undoing RacismⓇ, was her quote:
"Police deal with the failure of community institutions."By the time our officers are policing community members, there have already been failures in families, neighbors, schools, service organizations, the economy, elected leadership, community planning etc.
"Law officers can't 'fix' our communities," Chief Yost offered, "We police them."
At 4:39 in the following PBS News Hour clip, you can see an officer talk about the disproportionate pressure on Police to serve in too many social service roles, (and also, the disproportionate rates at which black citizens are victimized) The entire segment is really great. It starts with police talking about inadequate gun control laws:
Officer Yost expressed interest in Undoing RacismⓇ training, as have other police, and social service workers in our area. A main challenge for everyone is cost. A few organizations are willing to contribute financially to Undoing RacismⓇ in the Valley, but we will need buy-in from every community to raise the $18,000 we need.
Raising funds, and having discussions in the community is an integral part of bringing this training to the area. When I first started talking with Diana Dunn about Undoing RacismⓇ in the Valley, she said we should till the soil and plant the seeds, to make sure our area wants to have this discussion, to get the community on the same page about what racism is, and to get buy in from the community. I am realizing, as well, that the process of organizing is a practice of the training itself- giving citizens a meaningful role in directing their communities.
Bloomsburg Meet up
Not a good week for attendance, but I find, everywhere I engage people in conversations about race, and what Undoing RacismⓇ is, I find sincere interest. The Bloomsburg Meet up was at Phillips Emporium, and the owner talked with me for quite a while about many issues in the region. This was another great chance to speak with an iconic figure in the community. Many initiatives have been spawned and developed in the space Phillips Emporium provides to the community. One common theme is the challenge of engaging citizens in community work. It certainly is a challenge-- for everyone.
The Sunny Side
I am committed to bringing this program to our area, and a few organizations have expressed willingness to raise funds. I am optimistic that interest will be sustained, and grow.
I have confidence that given the right information and tools, community leaders in the Valley will make a difference, and lead us toward healthy and diverse community structures. If we are deliberate, we can set an example for other areas that are grappling with the same challenges.
Since last January, police, non profits, individual citizens, churches, and civic groups have been incredibly supportive an open to Undoing RacismⓇ in the Valley, and I am optimistic that we will reach our fundraising goals.
If you have extra time to lend- I can use a few dedicated volunteers to spread information, and organize fundraisers. Just use the contact form on this blog, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for events in your community!
November's Founder's Event will be in: Sunbury
November's Meet up will be in: Northumberland