Our Values: Justice & Anti-Racism

This post is the third in a series introducing FamilyWorks’ new Mission, Vision, and Values. Check back each week to read interviews from staff and board members highlighting each of our values, and click here to view a collection of currently published posts in this series.

What’s your role? How did you get involved with FamilyWorks?

I am the current Board President at FamilyWorks. I was first introduced to FamilyWorks when I was working as an AmeriCorps member at Solid Ground. The following year, I was hired as a Food Bank Coordinator at FamilyWorks. After a few years, I joined the board and I’ve been an active board member for the past two years.

What does this value mean to you personally?

For me, the FamilyWorks values of Justice and Anti-Racism mean advocating and taking steps toward addressing systemic racism and oppressive structures that create inequities and inequality for marginalized communities. This means continuing the work of advocating for better policies at our local, state, and federal levels and dismantling structures that do not benefit communities most impacted.

How does FamilyWorks embody this value?

FamilyWorks’ core mission is to provide resources that help families become more food secure while also providing additional equitable resources within the resource center that contribute to the well-being of our participants. To accomplish this, FamilyWorks actively recruits and hires staff whose identities and lived experiences reflect the families they serve. This representation ensures that programs are being shaped, developed, and evolved equitably for our participants. Currently, 80% of FamilyWorks’ leadership team and over 50% of staff hold a historically marginalized racial identity.

Can you give an example of how you’ve seen this value in action at FamilyWorks?

FamilyWorks Food Access Programs provide culturally appropriate food items and work to accommodate those with certain dietary restrictions. The Food Bank also delivers food via our Mobile Food Pantry, Grocery Delivery Program, and Weekend Powerpack Program, making it easier and more accessible to obtain food for those who might not have access nor the ability to visit our brick and mortar locations. The Family Resource Center also acts as a liaison for participants that experience barriers to receiving assistance which leads to the betterment and well-being of the people we serve.

On top of the services provided, FamilyWorks on a yearly basis sets a racial equity agenda with goals to be achieved by the of the year. This year, FamilyWorks’ objectives include forming and launching a Participant Advisory Committee (PAC) which is a leadership group of program participants that provide input guidance and feedback about our programs on a regular basis. The PAC will introduce a formal method of sharing decision-making power with our participants and the hope is that this practice will be particularly empowering as FamilyWorks looks to extend capacity through new programs and partnerships in the future.

How do you hope this value will impact the future of FamilyWorks?

My hope is that by continuing to embody justice and anti-racism in our work, FamilyWorks can build even more pathways for our community to overcome systematic barriers around food, housing, and transportation.