Reflecting on events in Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

Dear MassCOSH Supporters,
I did not feel like I could start the work week as usual today, without at least recognizing even via email the horrible events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA. As usual, Vu Le, the author of the Blog Nonprofit AF has written an excellent reflection that has helped inspire me this morning:
In it, he writes about the need to maintain a balance of anger and grace:
“We must be angry because the danger of not being angry is that we become complacent. We acquiesce to injustice instead of confronting it. We accept racism and xenophobia as normal, as part of the natural order or free speech or whatever, instead of seeing these things for the horrors that they are.

However, we must also have grace, which is something I’ve been finding harder and harder to summon of late. Without grace, we turn on each other instead of on the wrongs we are committed to righting. Without grace, we see “the other side” not as humans, and we get confused about who is actually on the other side. Without it, we don’t forgive ourselves for our failings and we give in to despair and hopelessness.”

He goes on to talk about the need for anger in our work… and that maybe we’ve tilted a bit too much toward grace in the nonprofit sector and that while we need to be grounded in grace, that we could and should channel more of that anger. We’ve seen so much injustice over the last month in our own communities, and we focus gracefully on ensuring that the workers we are supporting get the services they need, that our teen leaders have opportunities to grow and learn in a nurturing environment. However, it’s OK to be angry that we have to fight so hard for these things. I am always struck by how angry my kids are at the injustices of the world. I realize today that I need to learn from them…to stay angry and channel that anger in positive ways.

Vu ends by saying “When I lose hope, I think of all of you out there every single day working to make the world better. You give me hope. We are part of the group that’s lifting up families and building communities. We are bigger and stronger than hatred. Our work is critical, and it makes a difference. The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, history has repeatedly seen because we bend it that way.”

I am proud to be working with you all, bending the arc toward justice.
In solidarity,

Jodi Sugerman-Brozan
MassCOSH Executive Director