Letter from Laura

Laura Pierce
June 22, 2022

Dear Nonprofit Colleague,

To me, this past month has been “the best of times, the worst of times.” For the Nonprofit Association of Washington (NAWA), the Washington State Nonprofit Conference and the launch of our rebrand and new website has been the culmination of great deal of hard work over the past year (I’m grateful to everyone on the NAWA team!). It’s been a joy to unveil our vibrant new logo and new name—we’re putting nonprofits first!—and to connect with others at the Conference and in the subsequent celebratory receptions. We are receiving positive feedback on our learning and community engagement programs and making concrete gains in equity and accessibility. Our policy work is influencing others, as with this Crosscut article about equity in government contracting.

In addition to successes at NAWA, June is Pride month, a celebratory time where I am reminded of the resilience and creativity of my beloved queer community. And our country is about to celebrate Juneteenth, recognized for the first time as a federal holiday. This feels like a positive step toward the massive project of facing our country’s racist, colonial past.

Yet, we are all feeling the weight of the many tragedies unfolding in our country and world. The murder of grocery shoppers in Buffalo and school children in Uvalde have drawn our attention to the toll of gun violence in our country (over 250 mass shootings so far in 2022) and reminded us that racist violence is an ongoing and terrifying threat to Black people and other communities of color.

Many of us went through or are still experiencing feelings of deep grief for this and other calamities affecting people and the planet. We all need to find ways to honor the grief that overwhelms us at times, and especially to support others in our circles who are suffering from depression and anxiety that may be deepened by hearing of traumatic events. And as Amy Sample Ward suggests in the quote above, let us allow our hearts to be broken and repaired in an endless cycle of Kintsugi, the Japanese tradition of visible mending of ceramics which actually leaves the repaired vessel stronger than the original.

We also must find reasons to hope and carry-on life-affirming, justice-seeking work amidst it all. You all give me this hope. This week, I traveled to Yakima for my first post-pandemic NAWA business trip and had the opportunity to connect with dedicated nonprofit leaders from up and down the Yakima Valley and over to the Tri-Cities at the Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good Closing Celebration. The gathering included folks caring for our children, registering new voters, closing the digital divide, supporting people with mental health challenges, caring for our environment, and more. Who could fail to be buoyed up by this community of people moving us toward wholeness? Thank you for providing countless reasons to hope through the work you do.

With love and solidarity,
Laura

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