We know it’s a big week. (Need help voting? Check out Missoula County Elections office here). But we want to briefly pause for a moment of reflection before being swept up in the news cycle.
October was a big month for us at Home ReSource. A year ago, who among us could have imagined what a “virtual banquet” would have looked like, let alone decided to host one? Not us; what a preposterous idea — almost as preposterous as “social distancing.” Although the phrases now have an all-too-familiar ring, the disconnect embedded within each mirrors the odd and deeply challenging strangeness of connecting with our community during a pandemic.
But we did it! Thanks to all of you, our virtual auction and socially distanced banquet were a resounding success. The success of this event means we can keep our doors open and our engines of reuse firing; it means our Work, Youth, Education and Zero Waste programs can continue to provide critical services to our community. It means we can keep doing the hard and dirty yet deeply rewarding work of moving our community, step by step by step, toward a sustainable and just future.
Do we hope to do something similar in 2021? Not so much. We truly, deeply, fervently hope that next year we’ll be able to do away with “virtual” and the “distance.” But for now, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank each and every one of you who helped make our virtual auction and banquet a success.
As our vocabulary has shifted over the past months (quaranteam, zoombomb and doomscrolling anyone?) so have conversations across our community. Race revelations, climate disasters and the pandemic have put difficult truths—often belatedly and uncomfortably—in front of us again and again. These truths have only served to increase our commitment to learn about and thoughtfully confront, head-on, the untenable and unjust systems in all their varied and insidious forms.
A year ago, who among us would have taken a hard look at our own privilege or acknowledged (as is still hard to do, but we must) our contributions to upholding white supremacy—intentional or not. Or how (exactly) to be an agent of anti-racist change in a predominantly white institution in a predominantly white community?
But today, although we don’t have all the answers—not even close—we are committed to digging in and figuring them out. Our entire board and staff recently participated in anti-racist trainings with Missoula’s own Dr. Tobin Shearer of Widerstand Consulting. We have put the focus on ourselves and are looking hard at our personal and institutional challenges and opportunities; we are embracing the discomfort that comes with dismantling the systems and reframing the conversations that have gone unquestioned. It is a long road (we are familiar with these) and we are committed to taking step after step after step.
Both the pandemic and the tumult across our nation have added urgency to our commitment to being a space where everyone and everything is treated with respect, where dignity is afforded to everyone who walks in our door. We are here to do the hard work needed to model and then propagate the kind of world we want to live in. We could not be here without all of you who, again and again, affirm the importance of what we do; the importance of righting wrongs, fixing inequitable systems, believing in the possible and moving forward together.