Refresh, Replenish and Get Ready to Get into Good Trouble

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.” –John R. Lewis

Dear GOSW Members

It has been a few weeks since we have been in community with one another, and as days of July come to a close and we prepare to enter the peak of summer, we hope that you are finding time to refresh, replenish, and embrace the long days of warm sunshine in Oregon and SW Washington. Summer is the perfect metaphor for the cycles of life that we all engage in. The sun is at its peak…the days are longer…and we have a little more time to take stock in all that we have labored in throughout the year.

Each evening, I try to find a few moments alone in my garden to sit amongst the hostas and roses, listening to the hum of bees and watching the lilting flutter of butterfly wings hovering over my favorite patch of Black-eyed Susans. This time to reflect is critical to me these days as our collective energy can be easily drained by the hurdles of life in tumultuous times. While it can be difficult to remain focused on the inherent responsibilities of leadership, it is in these quiet moments amongst the flowers that I find hope and clarity around why this period in time matters so much in our collective work.

We are still taking to the streets to protest the loss of life in George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people whose lives were taken through police violence. We are still witnessing the wrath of COVID-19 as it takes the lives of more and more of our people every day. And we are still managing through a politically fraught period of time that makes the work of being a unified country even more challenging. Yet, just as the harvests of summer only come to fruition when our proverbial hand remains firmly on the wheel, we continue to fight for equity and we continue the fight against the coronavirus. I still believe that the sacrifices that we are making in the heat of the day and the efforts that we are making by using the resources that we have, will ultimately make it possible for us all of us to be a part of a community that we want for ourselves and for future generations.

I am in awe of the new blooms that are exemplified in young people giving voice to the rights and needs of people of color every night on the streets of Portland. I find solace under the branches of the towering trees that are our healthcare workers who hold the hands of those who’s bodies fight a war against the coronavirus. I remain grateful to be in the company of women of color like Michelle DePass, Seahdom Edmo, Toya Fick, and many others who in their leadership, plant the seeds that will ensure that significant philanthropic dollars are spent making system changes in the lives of Black, Brown, and Native People in our region. And I find hope in every sprout that pushes up through the hard ground of racism and privilege in the hearts of our members who have recognized the critical role that they play in reimagining a world in which we all benefit from the fruits of equity and inclusion.

Summer is certainly the season of restoration and hope, and from my favorite seat in my garden, I am sending you gratitude for your membership in our community. It is your partnership in GOSW that makes what we do possible, so I want you to know how much we value being in your company. I hope that you are able to find time over the next month to fill your spirits and in the words of the late Congressman John Lewis, I look forward to getting into good trouble with all of you.