Connection is everything

I typically use this monthly blog entry to impart fundraising and nonprofit management advice, but I’m really struggling to do that this month. 

My mind is with the dozens of families that lost their loved ones in Buffalo, in Laguna Woods and in Uvalde…communities changed forever by violence and hatred, and massive trauma that could have been prevented. So in lieu of my typical professional musings, I thought I would offer a brief personal story and my wish for you…and our collective empowerment. 

Late last week, I found myself sitting in silence with someone I barely knew. It was a business meeting. But, after exchanging introductions and pleasantries she generously created some space for grief by acknowledging that she “wasn’t quite herself” given the atrocities of the past two weeks. We sat there, eyes locked, in complete silence for a few moments and all I could gather myself to say was “thank you.”

I was grateful because her personal expression of pain made me feel connected and, perhaps, validated for having cried in my car that morning en route to my business meetings. In that silent moment, we were in community with one another because we chose to acknowledge our shared, painful, distinctly American reality. We chose to take a moment to acknowledge our humanity, our being and our shared belief that human life is in fact precious, sacred.

We spent the rest of our time together in thought partnership. The focus of the meeting was the expansion of a nonprofit organization in which we are both personally, emotionally and financially invested. I walked away from her feeling lighter, grounded in our plans to mobilize networks, vibrating from a place of excitement and hope. In that moment, I felt like I had some control and influence in this crazy world. I felt empowered.

The long drive home brought my thoughts back to you – my friends and colleagues in the social sector, working tirelessly to improve our neighborhoods and institutions, our social systems. I want you to know that I see you. I appreciate you and I applaud your tenacity to keep going even on the worst days. My wish for you, changemaker: 

I wish you the audacity to believe you can change the world. The kind of audacity that keeps you hopeful in the face of fear and uncertainty. 

May you stay passionate and emotional and empathetic. May you feel it all, especially the joy. 

I wish you connection and kindness. May you create it in abundance, give and receive it freely. 

May you find solace in claiming your personal power and in encouraging others to do the same.

I wish you confidence to live in your truth and courage to raise your voice (especially when it shakes). 

May we all find empowerment through reflection, grieving, and activism.

With love and in community, 

Hannah