Bread for the City Managing Attorney Rebecca Lindhurst received the Washington Council of Lawyers 2015 Legal Services Award last Wednesday night. This recognition is well-deserved, a long time coming, and all of us at Bread couldn’t be more proud of her.
Bread for the City is just making ALL the big changes right now. We’re officially an FQHC; we just launched our new strategic plan; and for the first time ever, we have hired an Advocacy Director!
Wondimu Geda is a full time Bilingual Housing Clinic Coordinator with our Housing Access Program (HAP). Wandimu is fluent in Amharic, English, Afan Oromo, and Gurage. He works to make sure that our Amharic speaking clients have full access to HAP programming and often facilitates other BFC programs.
At Bread for the City, we value language access and see it as an integral piece of dignity and respect. All of our staff have been trained on our language access policies and know to offer interpretation services at every point of contact. If a staff member is not available to provide language services or interpretation we will call a telephonic interpretation service. For appointments scheduled ahead of time, we often bring in outside interpreters to facilitate culturally appropriate communication in meetings.
A month ago I had a powerful experience. I spent two days with 45 mostly-young people in a training workshop on “Undoing Racism”. Almost 30 of the 45 were Bread employees or Board members – black, white, mixed, and Asian-American – and were there as part of Bread’s commitment to racial equity.
A couple of weeks ago, a number of the Bread for the City staffers met up at Freedom Plaza to participate in the rally to end police brutality against black men. After some thought, I gave the staff permission to join the rally under the Bread for the City banner, rather than insisting that they participate as mere private citizens.
I had initially hesitated to give my permission for them to walk as Bread employees, not because I didn’t like the cause or because I was worried about alienating some donors, which it very well might. No, I hesitated because I fear that the idea of marching regarding police brutality is too narrow of a message. Even one life of an unarmed citizen lost at the hands of the very people paid to protect us is tragic, but of course we know these tragedies have been both numerous and irreversible.