Funders Together to End Homelessness CEO, Amanda Andere, provided the opening remarks for the virtual State of the Movement from A Way Home America and Youth Collaboratory on July 23 and 24th with a message of joy and hope.
I finally have hope. Joy is the resistance to the oppression we face.
I had the honor of opening the A Way Home America and Youth Collaboratory two-day state of the movement. Some of my reflections: If you know me, you know I believe that no matter how hard our work, no matter how hard life is, we need to find joy. Joy is rooted in something deeper than fleeting happiness. It’s knowing that even though things are not well, all will be well. Because we have glimmers of hope. Joy comes through the shared humanity of our work rooted in a purpose bigger than ourselves. Joy is the resistance to the oppression we face. Despite the pain, we will have joy, because our lives matter.
I have not felt that joy for a while. I have not been able to utter the words hope these last few months. The overdue awakening to racism in our country, and the rightful uprising, was more painful than I expected. None of it was new, but it cut deeper into my soul.
But, I am gaining back my hope. Real change for me comes at the intersection of hope and boldness. The boldness and conviction from our movement to end youth and young adult homelessness...not by tinkering around the edges, but fundamentally uprooting the oppression in our systems gives me hope.
I have hope because we’ve finally moved from implementing racial equity to pushing for racial and housing justice.
I have hope because the energy on the streets is speaking louder than the people who are gatekeepers to resources and power.
I have hope because we are finally hearing what communities are saying will make them feel safe and know we can’t end homelessness until we defund and dismantle the systems designed for our oppression.
Transformation is not just a transformed or different outcome. It means transforming the process in the way we make decisions and prioritize resources. It’s the literal transformation of power. I have hope because power in A Way Home America is finally shifting to where it rightfully belongs, to the people closest to the problem.
During the State of the Movement event, we found hope together and were filled with joy, and as Asata Shakur says: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”