Friday, November 6, 2009

Budget Cuts and Rainbows

The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow,
But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work
~ Author Unknown

At times, the work of ending domestic violence can overwhelm a person – or a community or a team. There is so much to be done. There are so many lives to save, and so much injustice all around us. We find ourselves called to action over and over and over again. And yet, we cannot do this work well if we are not taking moments to step away from it and notice the beauty that is in the world, in humanity and in our community. When we don’t make time for ourselves, we can lose ourselves in the work and become victims of it as well.

We received the news this week that the state budget line item for domestic violence services will be cut by 2.4%. This is not as devastating as we feared. However, it is a cut, and all programs across the state are making difficult decisions about how this cut will impact their programs and services. We were asked how we would like the cuts to be divided – across all programs, only to community-based programs, or only to supervised visitation centers. And the resounding answer from Executive Directors across the state was, “make the cut equal across the board, and let each individual program determine how to implement it.” It was inspiring to hear director after director agree on the point that all of our programs matter, and we would rather share the pain than ask some agencies to take a deeper cut.

On Tuesday morning, I attended a training session at the Department of Public Health on a new initiative sponsored by DPH, Fenway Community Health, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and Samaritans hotline. The meeting was about rolling out a new initiative aimed at educating providers about issues related to transgender clients, particularly around suicidality. I found it heartening that approximately 100 people attended the event, and I was happy to see people caring about supporting those who are often marginalized and ignored.

All of us were grateful for the opportunity to hear about various efforts people have undertaken to make their agencies and programs more trans-friendly. The statistics around suicide in the transgender community are troubling and can feel overwhelming. We want to help, and it is encouraging to know that tools and resources are available. Hopefully, those who attended the conference will carry this information back to communities across Massachusetts and make a difference.

And now, it is Friday. The week has come to a close. I feel as though there is so much more to be done. Yet the rainbow will not wait – and neither will my child.

Blessings to you on your weekend
Blessings to you in your work
And may we all remember to take the moment to appreciate the beauty of what is happening in the moment – because if we miss it – it will fade and so will we.

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