Focusing on the power of what’s possible, Community Action Marin CEO Chandra Alexandre, spoke to a committed group of philanthropists and social justice leaders at 100 Marin. The agency was nominated to receive support from the organization in honor of the transformative work it does to support racial and economic disparities in our community. “Social justice is in the details and it’s really in what we deliver,” said Chandra speaking at the event. She shared aspirations of how Marin County can become a proof point for what’s possible in centering racial and economic justice and why, as a community, we’re better and more resilient when we work together. Read the transcript below.
Thank you, 100 Marin! I’m Chandra Alexandre, and I’m very proud to be the CEO of Community Action Marin. And as a member of this giving circle, I’m proud to stand with you in celebration and in the lifting up of powerful nonprofits and philanthropy that matters. I’m honored to be here and offer gratitude to those wonderful individuals who nominated Community Action Marin.
Tonight I’m sharing with you not the magnitude of the problems we face in our county—because you know they’re real—you know they’re pronounced for our Black, Indigenous neighbors and people of color, and in particular, our Latino community—but I’m focused with you on the power of what’s possible. I’m not here to point out the glaring inequities that are taking our working families, the people who are every day holding up the economy and struggling to make ends meet at the same time, and forcing them beyond their ready resilience into anxiety, stress, and additional trauma.
Rather, I’m going to share with you a commitment to action that says passionate caring is important, but not enough. We need to support one another through our words and deeds. Community Action Marin is here to speak up and step up—and to keep making an impact in partnership across the county. Our work is getting stronger because our staff who are working hard to meet urgent needs in community, are starting to hear that people are paying attention. Being here with 100 Marin says what we’re doing matters; Assemblymember Marc Levine honoring us as a 2020 California nonprofit of the year this month says we are making lives better—people are increasingly living with dignity and respect and the resources they need to thrive. These noticings matter because our work is deeply human and people on the frontlines of our pandemic response—people who are themselves often living paycheck to paycheck—want to know they’re appreciated.
So, I’m here to compel a shift from dedicated belief to steps on the pavement in solidarity with people like Emmelina, an immigrant who is trying to live with a $15/hour gap between her wage as a housekeeper and the county’s self-sufficiency index. 100 Marin, I know that we can do better together and I know that you want to make a difference. Join us.
Social justice is in the details and it’s really in what we deliver. Here are reasons why we’re better together and working hard in partnership across the county—in two steps and one aspiration—to strengthen the heartbeat of Marin:
- Social justice requires moves to trust. People do the right things. The evidence bears it out. Give a cash grant as we’ve been able to do (giving out over $2M in rental assistance and cash support) and a little girl gets glasses and works on her art project. The myths about our welfare and safety net systems are untrue and perpetuate injustice. At Community Action Marin, our work is based on a foundation of trust that has been strengthened and deepened over time. Because of trust, people move out of fear and into their dreams, with us as true partners on the journey.
- It requires us to keep the door open. Invite people to the table. When all voices count, we all prosper! Whether our agency’s work on the census or getting out the vote, whether ensuring maximum feasible participation by people of low-income in our efforts to self-sufficiency, or ensuring parents join in our program planning efforts, we are making sure the people of Marin, including those most often invisibilized, are seen, heard, strong, and powerful.
Finally, our aspiration: Marin County becomes, because of us all, a proof point for what’s possible in centering racial and economic justice. We have the resources, the skills, the hard-working and creative community, and the willingness to be the change. Social justice is in our hands, and Community Action Marin is a committed partner with you. Thank you for your vote. We are proven and we are stronger together because of you. The time is now to be, as we say, “in your corner” for a resilient Marin. Thank you!