This speech was given at the Krista Foundation Annual Fundraising Breakfast in Spokane, WA on September 29, 2015.
Marisol Rosado-Carrisalez, 2013 Colleague, served as a program assistant for Northwest Leadership Foundation's Act Six Program in Tacoma, WA. Marisol now serves as Program Manager for the Act Six program. She is passionate about being a catalyst for the next generation of leaders and directly applies that passion through the Urban Leaders in Training initiative at NLF.
I've been asked here to share my experience of how service has had a strong influence in my life journey.
My passions for service and for my city, Tacoma, have been nurtured since I was a young child but I could never fully articulate to my peers the importance of my passions in my life. It was not until I became an Act Six scholar at Whitworth University and the Northwest Leadership Foundation, that a vision of service birthed in me that I could not have imagined prior. As enlightening as this was, one of the most difficult tasks throughout my life have been sharing my passion with my loved ones and my city. Quite frankly, this was heartbreaking until I was commissioned as a Krista Colleague.
While Whitworth University did its best in preparing for me the professional world, I could not have imagined how great my need for accompaniment, a community around me, would be. Granted, I still have great relationships with my cadre mates and I do not foresee that ever changing. However, during my two terms of Urban Leaders in Training, it was the Krista Foundation that provided me opportunities to engage with others serving in a similar contexts with complementing passions. I firmly believe that this why the Krista Foundation exists. The Krista Foundation provides space for the colleagues and others associated to learn together. It has consistently affirmed my past experiences and it encourages healthy transformation in all capacities of my life. The Krista Foundation has helped me attain a language that healthily describes my perspectives and ethics of service. One quote that I constantly reminded of when I participate in an event at the Krista Foundation is, "My images of God, peace and service are incomplete without your images of God, peace and service". This is one of the best reflections I have to offer of this organization.
A reality that I continue to wrestle with are the complexities of the racialized institutions we all operate under. I was reminded during my service in AmeriCorps that most systems were not designed with me or people that identify similarly as I do, in mind. One brief example that reflects this is when I was working with several students whose K12 and college curriculums do not feature voices they identify with. I experienced this throughout all of my education. As a first generation, student of color, I often found myself questioning my capabilities and my identity. This is the reason why I chose to serve after graduating from Whitworth. I wanted to support students that systemic barriers would have let fallen through the cracks as I could have easily done. One way I have demonstrated this culture has been through the Krista Conference. I facilitated a workshop focusing on allyship for the Krista Colleague community. This experience has birthed a desire of developing lifelong ethics of authenticity AND service. Not an ethics of authenticity OR service but a complementing dynamic that best serves and changes my city. I'd like to share a piece of poetry that has greatly describes this dynamic.
This poem is called City Psalm by Denise Levertov.
The killings continue, each second
pain and misfortune extend themselves
in the genetic chain, injustice is done knowingly, and the air
bears the dust of decayed hopes,
yet breathing those fumes,
walking the thronged
pavements among crippled lives, jackhammers
raging, a parking lot painfully agleam
in the May sun, I have seen
not behind but within, within the
dull grief, blown grit, hideous
concrete facades, another grief, a gleam
as of dew, an abode of mercy,
have heard not behind but within noise a humming that drifted into a quiet smile.
Nothing was changed, all was revealed otherwise;
not that horror was not, not that the killings did
not continue, not that I thought there was to be no more despair,
but that as if transparent all disclosed
an otherness that was blessed, that was bliss.
I saw Paradise in the dust of the street.
In closing, I can honestly say that I would not be who I am without the Krista Foundation. It is because of the Krista Foundation that I can confidently stand here with you all committing to love my city amidst all of its affliction and beauty. The Krista Foundation has helped me build the cornerstones of my identity and my life.