Anyone who has known me in the last 3 years, know that I can’t do anything Wednesday nights, that’s because I spend my Wednesdays with a powerful group of young political women from and living in Boston’s urban communities. We’re all between the ages of 14-30, we’re all working class, and we work together to heal from trauma, build community, and build in ourselves and one another the capacity to lead real change. In addition to being a space that has given me real tools to grow as an organizer and an educator, R&S has been a space that has given me the emotional and spiritual support that I need to continue doing the important work I do with young people, media and action.
Reflect and Strengthen is in a financial crisis. Though we have continued to run the organization at full capacity throughout the summer, R&S staff has not been paid since June and there is no money to start the fall session. To respond to this emergency situation, we have been forced to shut down programming until we figure out a plan for a sustainable future. R&S staff, members, and board members will be focusing solely on fundraising and financial planning during this time.
Fundraising has always been a challenge for a small, social justice grassroots group like us. This year is different. We have been denied critical funding from foundations that have supported us for years. We have been denied money from new foundations due to the recession. We have received less money from foundations whose endowments were hit hard. While we have exceeded our grassroots fundraising goal for the fiscal year and coordinated many in-kind donations, it’s not enough.
The community has identified R&S as a vital resource for young people and an organization with the power to transform Boston and beyond. For many of us, joining R&S was the first time in our lives we experienced feeling safe and uplifted by other women, the first time that we were empowered to take leadership, and the first time the trauma we went through as working class people was addressed with healing, analysis, and organizing tools. Our members aren’t getting our unique needs met in school or in other groups we may be a part of. If R&S were to close, there would be no place in our city for young women like us to go.
Now, we need our people to step up in solidarity with our membership so that R&S can survive. We are asking for your support in raising $52,421. Without this amount, we cannot re-launch programming. R&S needs you to: donate, throw a house party, reach out to your networks, hold an event, and do whatever is in your heart to raise money. No amount is too small. We have grants pending in September and are hopeful such funding will help us reach our goal. R&S is grateful for your ongoing support and loving action. We are walking in faith we will emerge from this crisis a stronger and more permanent force for personal and social transformation. We are only as strong as the community that lifts us up.
$10 – transportation for teen members to group
$25 – materials for workshop with women involved with DYS
$50 – one 2-hour political education workshop
$80 – food for core programming meeting
$250 – 1/3 rent for a NEW programming and office space!
$500 – printing costs for organizing campaign
$1000 – a counselor’s fee for our peer-led support groups