Can We Create Change for a Better World…For All?


Beth GrahamThe coronavirus has exposed deep, persistent cracks in our society that were not as evident in the rush of our everyday lives just a few months ago. Or, perhaps, we used our busyness as an excuse to look past them or pretend they were not there.

In “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” When you read these words, it is hard to believe they were penned over 50 years ago.

We must ask ourselves, as individuals and as a community, whether we have been protecting the status quo in many facets of our society. After all, the status quo has allowed homelessness to thrive for nearly 40 years, disproportionately impacting Black people. Indifference has allowed the supply of affordable homes for people with modest incomes to remain woefully inadequate. This same indifference may soon result in a wave of evictions, punishing those who have lost their jobs at a time when being without housing could mean exposure to a serious, contagious virus. Where do we go from here?

At Joseph’s Home, we are asking ourselves these difficult questions so that we can figure out how we can do more to end housing injustice and homelessness, to advocate on behalf of the people we serve, to root out racial bias, and to support our staff. It’s not enough to just do more—we must also be more creative, more efficient, more determined— to create real change. Dr. King said that we must face a challenge such as this with vigilance. In the spirit of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, we embrace his call, and we recognize it for the incredible privilege it is.

Inspired by the opportunity for true, systemic change, we are honored to announce that Amanda Andere, Chief Executive Officer of Funders Together to End Homelessness, will be our keynote speaker for Perseverance in Hope: The Virtual Annual Benefit Luncheon on October 28, 2020. We are deeply grateful to the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland for making this possible. Ms. Andere is an impressive leader, no doubt, but what makes her special to me is her passion and authenticity. She is unflinchingly committed to de-constructing racist structures while building up the strength of our field to do this work together. Community instead of chaos.

I read recently that processing life through a grateful lens does not mean denying the existence of terrible situations; instead, it means realizing that each of us has the power to transform challenges into opportunities. And, that gratitude can help us move forward rather than remaining paralyzed by fear or uncertainty. Your gifts of support and encouragement during this time have done exactly that. They have allowed us to move forward through the changes brought on by the virus, structural racism and the economic upheaval of the last few months. I am deeply grateful for the chance for change—and for your continued help doing so. As the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine said in their recent Statement Against Racism, “We cannot afford to let this moment pass. We cannot afford to return to the way it has always been. This is our time!”

With sincere gratitude,

BETH GRAHAM, Executive Director