Serve Well Blog

April 2013 Entries

4.23.13

Colleague Pledge Drive | Week 2 | On the Service Journey w/ Eli Burnham

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Community, Community, Healthcare, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Post-Service Term Reflections, Sustaining Service


Click here to track the pledge drive progress.   

It is week 2 of the Colleague Pledge Drive. Thanks so much for joining in this journey of giving. As of last week, Colleague giving has helped us reach $4,520.00 in gifts and pledges; there are over a dozen colleague monthly donors! Our goal this year is to raise $8,000.00 - we're more than halfway there.  

Each week, we'll be releasing a video featuring colleagues at different points along the service journey. Today, we're excited to highlight 2012 Krista Colleague Eli Burnham who is in transition from service year to a life of service leadership (with dreams to become a nurse!) Eli continues to work at the organization - Lifelong AIDS Alliance in Seattle - where he served as part of his placement with Quaker Experiential Service & Training. 

Click To Make A Gift Of Any Amount. 

 

 

4.15.13

Longing for Racial Justice
by Brandon Casey Adams, '09 Krista Colleague

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Krista Foundation Press, Urban America, Community, Post-Service Term Reflections, Sustaining Service

When it came time to register for the White Privilege Conference, I had to fill out the form quickly. That's because going deep into the topic of my whiteness always frightens me, and I knew that attending this conference would be the biggest uncomfortable race-related experience for me since my involvements in American Ethnic Studies during my time in undergrad. Despite the fears, I was glad to know that I would not be alone in the hard conversations about race and racism. In fact, out of the 2000 diverse attendees that registered for this year's conference, I was glad to be alongside 12 fellow members of Wallingford United Methodist Church as well as Zach, Stacy, Valerie, and Neah from the Krista Foundation. With deeply rooted community like that, meaningful dialogue on just about any issue is possible!

As you may know by now, one of the issues discussed at the White Privilege Conference is, well, white privilege. Even after many times hearing of or learning about the term white privilege, it's always nice to be reminded what this term really means. The term points to the fact that still today, whiteness carries loads of cultural capital. Without often recognizing it, I believe that we who are white actually cash in on the invisible advantages of our perceived "whiteness" each and every day. This gigantic form of inequality between white folks and people of color not only brings up the sting of white guilt, but much more importantly it does great harm to our relationships, especially with people of color who often encounter very different realities than many of us white folks experience.

Because I long for racial justice and healing within the human experience, I ended up feeling nothing but grateful to be present at a conference that was focused on creating racial justice from many different angles and approaches. Though it's not easy, being in a conference space (or book group space and/or community space, for that matter) where whiteness and racism are discussed has really helped me to more clearly identify the mechanisms that reinforce racial preference. And at the conference, being in a large group of white people who are also choosing to fight off racial privileging as a component of being in solidarity with people of color helped me to get more perspective on how I can continually contribute to co-creating a more just society.

After the conference, I started paying more attention to the many instances where people affirm my (unearned) moral goodness, success potential, and ability to be influential. Often at a very micro level, I see instances of this happening literally every day. A few hours ago, an example of this arrived in my inbox at work. I received an email response from an IT person who informed me that an important email that had gotten caught in my spam filters was now "whitelisted" - meaning that it got the stamp of approval for not being malicious spam and was therefore given permissions to enter my inbox. Acutely aware of how racial micromessaging comes in all shapes and sizes, I wrote right back to her. I said, "Thanks for helping me with that!" Then I added, "And on a side note, I encourage you to join my effort to get people to say good-list and bad-list, because it's always been weird to me that white ends up meaning good!" Friendly enough. Clear enough! She wrote back saying that she liked that change.

Progress toward racial justice will certainly involve a combination of many big steps, and even more small steps. For me, each of those steps are a little scary, or a little messy, and are commonly not the ‘safe' thing to do. But if there's one thing that the White Privilege Conference does a fantastic job of conveying, it is that white people have an enormous opportunity to break apart the structures that hold racism in place. As we in the Krista Foundation seek clarity regarding our responsibilities as global citizens, I with my whole heart invite each of us to scoot in closer to this messy table of racial justice work. It may not always be easy, but when we struggle for this together, we edge nearer to the beloved community that we have so often imagined.

 


Brandon Casey Adams is a 2009 Krista Colleague with a service placement from Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago. He taught video production to underserved high school youth and served as an advisor to a student club. In addition, advising several video projects that students did through Free Spirit Media. Currently, Brandon is living in Seattle with his wife, Kara. He is working at All for Kidz as a Digital Media Developer. 

4.8.13

In the pursuit of justice
by Zachary Pullin, Communications Coordinator

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press

Click here for more information about the 2013 Krista Foundation Conference 

It's kismet that the Krista Foundation and Stephanie Cotton correspond on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in the Gideon v. Wainwright caseThe Court's decision was that those who are indigent and face jail time deserve a lawyer. It's quite poetic, now, because Stephanie is an attorney.

Stephanie attended Whitworth and earned an International Studies degree. Unfortunately, after undergrad she wasn't sure what to do. It was then that Jim Hunt informed her of the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship. Filling out an application - unsure if anything would turn out - Stephanie was elated as she went on to become a Krista Colleague and receive a service placement by Lutheran Volunteer Corps with the Public Defender's Office in Seattle.

In Seattle, Stephanie was exposed to the grim realities of the criminal justice field. Reflecting back, the moment that shaped her - the precise moment she discovered her calling - was when a young African American boy and a caucasian boy were in court for the same charge. The young, African American boy - with support of a public defender and school counselor petitioned to reduce his bond because he couldn't afford it. He was denied a bond reduction and led back to jail in shackles. The caucasian boy, with similar criminal history and the same charge, had a private attorney who could petition his bond reduction. The judge reduced his bond amount and he was permitted to resume his life. Stephanie burst into tears, and committed to representing the underrepresented. 

At the time, Stephanie was immersed in service. She found herself struggling to deal with the complex challenges of service and her service organization was unable to offer any debriefing after the end of assignment. Stephanie said, "during service, the job was challenging and stressful, and my community life was not the greatest. So, I was very fortunate to be able to plug into the Krista Colleague community when I needed little breaks and to be around people that just understood me!" For her, the colleague community, debriefs, retreats, and annual conference were welcome reprieves during the few years following her service. Being in an intergenerational community and transforming her experiences helped motivate her to pursue a law degree at Gonzaga University Law School. 

Currently, Stephanie is in Colorado working as a public defender. She said, "I am absolutely where I want to be! Practicing law where I want to practice law and serving the group of people I want to serve. I feel very fortunate!" 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE 2013 KRISTA CONFERENCE!

 


Zachary Pullin is the Communications Coordinator at the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship. He was a Peace Corps volunteer from 2010 to 2012 in Belize, Central America teaching organization development, and was also a literacy educator, braille tutor, creative writing teacher, and founded Belize's first LGBTQ support group. His most recent role was as the Logistics Coordinator on the 2012 Soulforce Equality Ride. Prior to that he worked as the Communications Director of the NATIVE Project and a development intern with TOMS Shoes. Zachary loves going on jogs around Green Lake, eating apples and bananas, singing apples and bananas, and baking apple pie and banana bread.