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Investing in the People Behind the Projects: The Role of Fu

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farrah khan

on 29 October 2014

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Transcript of Investing in the People Behind the Projects: The Role of Fu

Ana Skinner, Laidlaw Foundation & Farrah Khan, Barbra Schlifer Clinic
Investing in the People Behind the Projects:
The Role of Funders in Promoting Self Care and Community Care

Funding Landscape
"Stuck between being deeply committed to working with young people, compounding grief and trauma, a lack of support from employers, and organizations that reproduce some of the broader systemic inequalities youth are facing, frontline workers are also being infected with the hopelessness they are working to mitigate (FPYN, 2009;4)
Precarious Funding
"If you are working in your community, how do you shut it off? You go to the grocery store and bump into someone. You go to a party and you end up in all this drama when what you really want to do is have fun"
Getting to Self Care
It {self care} seem so obvious, but it's about having manageable workloads. In this work, people are always expected to take on more...It's unrealistic and unfair to expect people to just cram health and wellness into an already crammed box."
Currency of Caring
"In this industry, sweat equity is assumed. It's counted on that you will go above and beyond. Wellness is seen as just another thing were expected to do."
The subtle assumption that people will provide services and continue to respond to needs in their communities through informal, unpaid, or precariously paid positions, because they care.
Devalued Work
"There is an assumption that 'of course frontline work is a burnout job and that frontline workers assume stress as part of their role'. This assumption is a set up from frontline workers as it then falls on them to deal with what is seen as part of the job. And an inability to do so is seen as the individuals shortcoming".
Impacts on Frontline Community Organizers
Trauma and Vicarious Trauma
"The trauma's we were managing are vicarious because of what is coming up in the community. People being shot, struggling on social welfare, someone's house burning down. Things happen to people in life, but for people who don't have a wider social support network, questions like: 'how do we help people?' 'Where do we draw a line' The personal relationships we have developed with community members in times of trouble means you can't just say 'no we can't help' and step outside of your job."
Recommendations & Promising Practices
Funding Processes
"Imagine seeing an RFP on how to care for your staff well."
"Do funders think this model is working? That it is healthy? That it is producing the results they want? Or is it just the only way they know how?"
People are at the Core
"We were acting on our beliefs deep within us as human beings. Then we stopped getting supported. I've seen a lot of people go through serious depression in this work."
Think systemically
“Do funders understand how fundamentally oppressive our society is? and how the hell do they expect groups to really change things…I mean I see change happens all the time, but sometimes it can feel like you’re going in circles and working against funding arrangements to make things happen”.
Disability Justice
is “centering the genius and leadership of disabled and chronically ill communities, for what we know about surviving and resisting the medical industrial complex and living with fierce beauty in our sick and disabled bodies. We say no to the medical industrial complex’s model of “cure or be useless,” instead working from a place of belief in the wholeness of disability, interdependence and disabled people as inherently good as we are. We understand that there can be no healing justice without disability justice”
- Badass Visionary Healers
“Not everyone is okay with living like an open wound. But the thing about open wounds is that, well, you aren’t ignoring it. You’re healing; the fresh air can get to it. It’s honest. You aren’t hiding who you are. You aren’t rotting. People can give you advice on how to heal without scarring badly. But on the other hand there are some people who’ll feel uncomfortable around you. Some will even point and laugh. But we all have wounds.” - Warsan Shire
"If we are truly committed to ending oppression and violence, then we must be committed to each other. Then we must live out of the simple truth that we need each other. We need each other" ~ Mia Mingus, On Collaboration: Starting With Each Other
“I seriously feel there needs to be a self care coach that works to support the workers on all these things. Because we all get lost in our work and self is eliminated. We need someone to remind us of it before its too late and our body begins to scream at us.” Segun

“Over ten years ago my best friend was murdered I had to find ways to openly talk about what he meant to me. In the neighbourhood we grew up there was youth worker I could go to on a regular basis. He helped me, never gave me any answers for how I felt just gave me space to talk”. Taiwo Bah

Attending to Grief Individually & Collectively

Healing Stations in Ferguson, Missouri: Elizabeth Vegan along with a team of women created healing stations on lawns, in the streets, spaces “where youth could come to grieve, scream, cry and be held and heard in love. Mighty work”. Dream Hampton

Questions & Contact
Ana Skinner askinner@laidlawfdn.org
Farrah Khan
Full transcript