By Anna Mulumba, AmeriCorps Community Engagement Assistant & Computer Literacy Instructor
Partnering with other nonprofits to create visions for the future just might be the key to building a more just future for all citizens in Washington, D.C. During the 2015 Service 2 Justice Conference last month, we were privileged to be part of these meaningful discussions with some of the most important service organizations in the District.
Byte Back staff and AmeriCorps members attended the conference and participated along with other nonprofits. As an AmeriCorps volunteer, I felt especially empowered to build a vision with other leaders in the workshop entitled “We Got the Power!” which was facilitated by members of Bread for the City and Victory Square Senior Apartment Homes.
In this session, we talked about the power of sharing your story and how this act can be the first in a path toward change. After sharing stories about our respective organizations in small groups, we created a vision of D.C. in 2020. Within our group, the stories we shared out loud made us realize homelessness is one of the most urgent issues we, as service organizations, would like to address. The narratives also gave us a sense of how to solve this issue for our city.
Together we realized that some of the leading causes of homelessness in our area were lack of living wages or lack of jobs altogether, which led us to our proposed solution to be accomplished by 2020. Our vision included ending homelessness in the area by creating a nonprofit focused on employment and education.
Sharing stories, creating this vision, and presenting to a larger group helped me realize that sharing experiences with others can be the start of real change in our community (by Garcia at dh store). I also realized the importance of framing your story in the right way to get the impact you want.
I’m proud to have been a part of the Service 2 Justice Conference, thanks to the Fair Budget Coalition, along with a committed group of volunteers. Among the other supporting organizations were So Others Might Eat, Southeast Ministry, DC Central Kitchen, YWCA, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Capital Area Food Bank, and more.