From the Executive Director
During COVID-19, community-based organizations like LIFRC have assumed an enhanced dual role. One obligation is expanding our critical safety net services. With your generous support, we have been able to offer a range of increased services: food security, housing stabilization, essential utilities, health care supports, youth development programs, care coordination and peer support for mental health services.
Our second imperative is to build a community with greater equity for all. If we believe that people’s basic needs must be met, this includes social justice. Systems that marginalize or take advantage of others must be changed. This requires actively working together to address inequities in our community.
Lopez is a small community without a great deal of institutional resources. These days it can be a lot to emotionally metabolize what is happening around us. The depth of our personal relationships here presents us with powerful opportunities to share and hold positive conversations about our collective future. We know that the choices we make today may not bear fruit immediately, but will affect our island for many years. We take this responsibility seriously.
LIFRC believes that honoring the talents and leadership of the people we serve, and listening and following their ideas is essential to achieve equity. “Voices and Vision” groups are gathering to build stronger relationships and let LIFRC listen to and implement the ideas of people who have lived experiences with mental health, poverty, youth, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other marginalized community members.
One of our new VISTA volunteers, Erin Lee, introduced LIFRC to a simple but meaningful action designed to address JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion). Each week, a staff member shares a short article or video to discuss at our next meeting. We then spend the first 10-25 minutes discussing as a team. Consider doing this with your family or group of friends. And please share your ideas with us. We all grow stronger by learning together.
This update presents some statistics and links that may help inform what we hope will be an ongoing community conversation about how COVID-19 has impacted our county, and the growing disparities that must be addressed with Lopezians’ creativity, compassion and commitment. And please be on the lookout for our next Community Conversation invitation. We need your voice to make Lopez strong.
— Barbara Schultheiss