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Dear GLIDE Community, 

Celebration is a cornerstone of our values at GLIDE. Seeing our national leaders align to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is a joyful moment. This historic step forward represents progress towards a new vision of American inclusivity. It reflects a new ownership of our collective history. It is an important step forward towards our nation’s growing awareness, acceptance, and honoring of our diversity. It also recognizes our collective history of the enslavement of people of African descent.

Juneteenth isn’t just part of African American history; it’s American history. It’s a day for inspiration and recognition of the foundations of our society. What we celebrate as a country – and what we choose not to celebrate – reflects our national values, our worldview, and our cultural priorities. Juneteenth is a day to recognize the lived experiences of African Americans, a journey through oppression marked by the Middle Passage, chattel slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration. It is a day to honor and celebrate the triumph of Black genius, courage, resilience, family, faith, love, and artistry, along with the profound impact Black people have in shaping this nation.

For those of us who have been working on systems change for decades, it is encouraging to see forward progress, unprecedented investments, and efforts to remedy longstanding racial inequities across sectors. Every step towards justice and equity counts.

Still, much more must be done. At GLIDE, we are focused on the critical work necessary to address a legacy of systemic racism. We continue to build on our history of fighting for the people and advocating for policies and investments that address the consequences of racial injustice, including homelessness and intergenerational poverty. Our racial justice and reconciliation programs deepen understandings of systemic racism and build empathy in private and public corridors of power to transform lives as well as institutions and to drive systemic change.

As we commemorate Juneteenth in America, together, we also look forward to a future when the Federal holidays of this nation truly reflect the diverse nature, values, and people of this country. This is an important step; taking the moment to celebrate gives us strength to keep going. Every day at GLIDE, we work to advance this vision. This is what we do. At every level. We embody the spirit, the vision, and the purpose of Juneteenth.

In love and solidarity, 

Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today, feeling acutely the burden of the collective heart. Across this country, there is an increase in alarming reports of antisemitic hate crimes, assaults, and harassment. Of course, GLIDE condemns these actions that are born out of deep-seated bigotry, intolerance, and blame. There is never a justification for hate crimes. And there is also something deeper to address. 

Scapegoating of many shades has long been a precursor to violence and harassment in our nation, all proliferating from the common roots of fear and shame. Roots that are hard to bear. When we examine the collective history of our nation, we find narratives brimming with antisemitic hate crimes committed by individuals, groups, and government officials. We recognize the patterns and cannot be silent witnesses to a new wave of religious scapegoating and violence that targets a community that has suffered from centuries of oppression. History and our values demand more of us. 

GLIDE’s role has always been to bear resounding witness to this collective trauma, to shine a light on those bare roots, and to bring people together in shared humanity to forge solutions. We are both heartbroken and angry at the increasing scale and depth, and magnitude of scapegoating. Let me touch again on the burden of the collective heart – isn’t this ache a call to awaken to the larger task ahead of us? 

We know, at GLIDE, that America is at its best when we come together to support each other. This is our vision of what this country might be. May is Jewish American Heritage Month. Our nation is made stronger by the resilience, history, and cultural contributions of American Jews. Let us join together in recognition and celebration of this truth. 

We are mindful that the meaning of the Hebrew word Shalom means both peace and also wholeness. We work every day on the ground here at GLIDE to help and support everyone to feel safe and whole. We want to affirm, as always, that American Jews, like all of us, deserve to feel safe and secure in who they are, and deserve to feel Shalom wherever they might be. 

As a nearly 60-year-old social justice organization rooted in radical inclusion and unconditional love, GLIDE has always stood firmly with the Jewish community. We all are in this together. GLIDE is for the people. Always. 

L’ shalom,

Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE

Dear Friends,

Throughout May we celebrate and honor the rich culture, contributions, diversity, and resilience of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. It is a special month at GLIDE. And it is also every day at GLIDE, where we embody the opportunity for healing and unity through our diversity.

So much of the GLIDE community is comprised of people of AANHPI heritage – our leadership, our staff, and clients, our donors and volunteers, our friends. All are fundamental to who we are and how we transform lives across San Francisco. Our heritage is rooted in the legacy of GLIDE’s co-founder, Janice Mirikitani, whose legacy of love, strength, and healing for all people is also rooted in her personal experience overcoming abuse and injustice.

The lived experiences of the AANHPI community resonate daily within and around GLIDE. From accomplishments on the national stage in leadership, social justice, business, and philanthropy, to the heroism and ingenuity of our staff, volunteers, and community partners who assist those in need across San Francisco. Throughout GLIDE’s nearly 60-year history, we have celebrated members of the AANHPI community, because they are us and we are them. Together we are the beloved community.

Yet, echoes of historical injustices against the AANHPI community sound again as hate crimes increased with the rise of COVID-19. These acts of violence are a chilling reminder of the consequences of political scapegoating and our nation’s long and systemic history of erasing and denying our patterns of stereotyping, silencing, exploiting, and perpetuating acts of brutality against the AANHPI community.

It is time to end this violent history and to carve new paths for healing and justice. We must begin by shining a light on the realities of the AANHPI experiences in our country, by exposing the travesties of history, speaking out loudly against violence, and demanding accountability. This radical truth-telling is a prerequisite to progress, an essential step for any nation to move out from under and beyond hate crimes and racial injustice. Once we lift up the truth, we must take action that fosters accountability, compassion, dialogue, and, eventually, reconciliation. GLIDE is doing this work. As we publicly condemn the violence and call for accountability, we are also leading initiatives that build pathways to empathy, trust and reconciliation. Our innovative work with police, healthcare workers, companies, and our own diverse community is changing how people see themselves and each other.

When we come together in these ways, with resilience, lifting each other up and embracing and cherishing our diversity, we build a better future that is bigger than the sum of the parts. GLIDE has stood for and with the AANHPI community. We always have, and we always will.

With love and in solidarity,

Karen J. Hanrahan
President & CEO

Dear GLIDE Community,

When historians look back on the COVID-19 pandemic, they will tell the story of women rising to challenges of historic proportions with profound resilience, power and leadership. They will also tell a story of tremendous sacrifice, loss and disappointment. The biggest insight from this tragedy will be how the pandemic clearly exposed the fragility of women’s progress and the persistence of longstanding and ubiquitous gender inequities.

As COVID-19 ravages our communities, exacerbating poverty, housing instability and food insecurity, the virus is taking an especially devastating toll on women. Many women, who were already straining to hold on to precarious and superficial advances, have had the bottom fall out from under them. And every indicator points to women of color suffering disproportionately.

Throughout this crisis, already overextended women have lost jobs, experienced food insecurity and spent increased time on unpaid childcare. Violence against women and children has escalated significantly, as many people have been forced to stay home in increasingly hostile and unsafe environments. In a matter of months, hard-fought gains women have made in pay equity, employment and financial stability were nearly wiped out. And on top of the virus’s economic toll, women of color have been significantly more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and to die from its impact.

Despite living in the wealthiest state in a wealthy country, women and children in California do not escape the same tragic inequities we are seeing around the nation. It may be surprising to know that, according to data from the California Women’s Foundation, California has the highest rates of child poverty in the country and women in San Francisco rank in the lower third of all California counties for indicators of wellness, safety and food security.

We see these realities every day at GLIDE. In a survey conducted by our Family, Youth and Childcare Center, which predominantly serves families of color headed by women, 93 percent of respondents reported income losses due to the pandemic, 47 percent didn’t have any weekly income and 71 percent of the women surveyed said GLIDE helped them avoid hunger. Through our essential support services, GLIDE helps women and their families stabilize their lives and thrive.

Research shows that investing in women drives progress for everyone. According to USAID, “A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community.” This is why GLIDE prioritizes support of women and families of color to help break intergenerational poverty and drive systemic change. Through our new Center for Women and Families, and increased policy and advocacy efforts from our Center for Social Justice, more people will access pathways out of poverty, increase stability and gain lasting economic independence.

To realize the collective progress we all make from lifting up women, we must first seek to understand why so many women lost so much so quickly. Then, as the world starts to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, elected officials, policymakers and leaders across sectors must place women’s economic opportunity and stability at the forefront of the nation’s recovery efforts.

On this day, March 24, 2021, people across the country will mark Equal Pay Day, which calls for an end to longstanding gender pay gaps in our society. It is time to invest in women at all levels. It is time to bring women into leadership, bolster our social safety net, address food insecurity, close the gender pay gap, provide paid family leave, expand access to quality healthcare, and invest in affordable childcare. It is time to create lasting structural change to ensure equality, equity and opportunity for all women. There is everything to gain, for our children, for our families, for our communities, for our world.

In Solidarity,

Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE

Dear Beloved Community,
 
We are outraged by the violence that has been directed at our Asian American community members. The reports of violence against our seniors are especially heart-wrenching. This must stop.
 
This wave of violence emerges from a recent plague of disinformation and demagogic strategies of division and scapegoating. It has roots in our nation’s legacy of racism and xenophobia. That legacy is a scourge. It undermines the social bonds that hold us together, support our greatest capacities as human beings, and give us collective strength to overcome any obstacle—strength we need at this time of profound social challenge. 
 
Racism has powerful institutional sources and racism also feeds on our willingness to perpetuate divisions among ourselves. We must not give systemic racism more power. Instead, we must see one another, in all of our diversity and circumstances, as fellow human beings in a common effort to belong, to love ourselves and one another, to survive and thrive. When we do this, we strengthen each other’s liberty, and we break down the barriers of white supremacy and systemic racism.

In the language and organizing around racial justice, we must make sure that when we demand justice, we demand it for all. Now is the time for collective solidarity. Now is the time to practice radical inclusion and love in action. Not in abstract ways but in our daily lives—by looking out for one another, calling out hate, protecting each other, taking the time to appreciate one another, to be curious, and to cultivate dialogue and respect across our differences while holding up the values and potential we all share as human beings.

In our homes, places of employment, and circles of influence, we must promote respect, kindness, and love for all communities, including our Asian American sisters and brothers. 

We call on everyone to stand with us in solidarity with our Asian American neighbors, family, colleagues and friends. Together, we will overcome violence with understanding and love. We will be and grow the loving community we are, seeking inclusion and justice for everyone.

You can find more information, resources and ways to help by going here.

In solidarity,

Miguel Bustos
GLIDE Center for Social Justice

Dear GLIDE Community,

At this moment, more than 21,000 National Guard troops are stationed in Washington DC – four times as many soldiers as in Iraq and Afghanistan combined – to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy. This unprecedented military presence is symbolic of a nation historically divided by white privilege, racism, and violence. 

We are witnessing what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed during the struggle for Civil Rights: that violent behavior breeds bitterness and chaos and undermines progress for us all. In contrast, Dr. King championed the idea that nonviolent protest, inclusion and reconciliation would lead to a more just and loving society – a beloved community.

On Monday, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his vision of a world where inequality, discrimination and hate are transformed into equity, inclusion, and love. This vision has inspired our collective hopes and imagination, and our fight for justice. 

Guided by our core values of unconditional love and radical inclusion, GLIDE continues to embody Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community by advancing racial equity, creating pathways out of poverty and transforming lives –- by meeting hate with love and inclusion. We recognize from the division in our nation and the growing needs of the people of San Francisco — disproportionately people of color – that our work has never been more critical. 

To create the beloved community in our lifetime, we must take steps, both individually and collectively, to bridge our differences and strive for justice for all. Join me as we continue our efforts to realize Dr. King’s vision. I am honored and proud to be engaged in this work alongside all of you.

In Solidarity,

Karen Hanrahan

P.S. I invite you to participate in GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice virtual event, “How Am I Martin? Celebrating the Man,” on January 18 at 5:00 pm, which will feature insights on Dr. King from our co-founder Rev. Cecil Williams.

Dear Community,

Yesterday, we witnessed the violent breach of our nation’s Capitol in an attempt to sabotage one of the most symbolic of our democratic processes, the certification of the electoral vote. While we can point to the President for his calculated incitement of chaos and insurgency, the images we saw streaming from the halls of Congress are emblematic of a much more powerful force and historic division within our country rooted in white privilege, racism and violence. 

What we witnessed is a deep-seated fear of our country’s future, fear of an inclusive America and an unwillingness to recognize the voice and vote of the American people demanding a more just and equitable path forward.

Despite this demonstration of division and hate, our Congress came together and certified the election of President-elect Joe Biden. The November election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris illustrates the power of our citizens to bring about change. Earlier this week voters in Georgia made history by electing Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the first  Black  and  Jewish  men, respectively, to serve as US Senators for the historically red state.  Each of these events demonstrates faith in our democracy, our nation, and the power of the ballot. 

This month, America honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The leadership, activism and political advocacy efforts of Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders are the foundation from which current progressive voter registration efforts—led by contemporary African American leaders—resulted in the pivotal changes in the Oval Office and in Georgia. Fueled by hard work and a deep commitment to change, these historic achievements are encouraging and demonstrate strong faith in our democracy.

We will likely face more contentious days ahead. We continue to rally against the pandemic, which is taking a toll on our economy, communities of color and our collective spirits.

At GLIDE, we hold steadfastly to our core values of unconditional love, radical inclusion, and a commitment to racial and social justice. These values continue to guide our efforts to dismantle systemic inequities, build bridges of commonality and serve those who are most in need. Our work and commitment to our values are crucial today more than ever. 

In solidarity, 

Karen  Hanrahan

President and CEO, GLIDE

Dear GLIDE Community,

American voters have spoken. In one of the most polarizing elections of our time, in the midst of a dark period defined by divisiveness, struggle and fear, millions of voters took to the polls to choose a new path. While it is clear that distrust and divisions remain across our polarized country, it is also clear that we must come together, irrespective of our differences, to begin the restorative and hopeful work of healing. We have much to do to reach that light at the end of the tunnel and there is hard work required in order to reconcile communities, restore social trust and to make meaningful and lasting progress on racial justice.  

Even in contention, it is evident that the majority of us remain committed to justice, compassion, and equality — principles that we not only celebrate but are intrinsic to GLIDE’s core values of unconditional love, radical inclusion and our commitment to racial and social justice. At GLIDE these values guide our unwavering efforts to serve those in need, fight for systemic justice and build bridges of commonality. This important work is currently underway in our integrated programs that break cycles of poverty and suffering, in our church known globally for embracing all, and in the Center for Social Justice, whose truth, justice, and reconciliation initiatives illustrate what can happen when diverse people gather with open minds, empathy, and the patience to talk with and learn from one another.

The pandemic has exposed the many inequities that exist within our nation, including systemic racism, economic inequality, and the growing frontline challenges that GLIDE strategically confronts every day: poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, physical and mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. With the election now behind us, our hope is that the next administration will find better solutions to address the serious challenges that face us all, regardless of our political allegiances. And as we have done so for nearly sixty years, we stand ready to assist those who will join GLIDE in taking on the critical work that must be done.

In solidarity,

Karen Hanrahan
President & CEO

This month GLIDE celebrates the 20th anniversary of the eBay Auction for Power Lunch with Warren Buffett. This exciting annual effort raises funds for GLIDE’s comprehensive programs benefitting some of the most in-need and marginalized San Franciscans. It also represents a special relationship that has only grown stronger with the years—one that includes Mr. Buffett, who first came to GLIDE at the invitation of his late wife Susie Buffett, and also our friends at eBay.

“There’s plenty of good things to do in the world with money,” notes Mr. Buffett of his longstanding commitment to the auction and his endorsement of GLIDE’s programs and services. “The one thing I can do is I can give them a 100% guarantee, so this is one of them.”

Regarding GLIDE’s work on behalf of San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents, Mr. Buffett remains as passionate as ever.

“You offer them the chance to find out what’s within them that hasn’t yet surfaced. That can start with things as basic as food, but it goes beyond that. If you can help somebody be something better than they thought they were or that the world told them they were, that’s the ultimate accomplishment in life.”

The following is an excerpt (lightly edited for readability) of Karen’s chat with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska, on April 4. You can also watch the interview here. GLIDE’s community is blessed to have friends like Warren Buffett and eBay, and we thank them for their stalwart commitment to GLIDE’s mission and the diverse and beautiful communities we serve.

Karen Hanrahan: It’s the 20th anniversary of the auction. You have so generously supported this legendary effort for two decades. This is a very special partnership to GLIDE. It’s not just Warren Buffett and GLIDE, it’s also eBay and now a growing circle of winners who’ve become part of the GLIDE family. This partnership has really allowed GLIDE to lift even more people out of desperate circumstances. It’s allowed GLIDE to innovate on the front lines of poverty. It has really fundamentally changed the lives of the people that we serve, and it’s a special relationship for us.

When you think back over the past two decades, what are some of the experiences you’ve had and people you’ve met that really stand out?

Warren Buffett: Well, it’s been nothing but good. We’ve raised money, but I’ve had a good time. I’ve met a lot of very interesting people from all over the world. . . . The one universal characteristic is that they have a good time, and they feel they’ve got their money’s worth. But the most important thing is they feel that that money is going to be put to very good uses. . . . And it translates into human beings finding that there is hope in life.

KH: I was brought to GLIDE to help it evolve, to help GLIDE grow, and to really build on the legacy that Cecil and Jan have built for over 50 years.

WB: I was skeptical going in [to GLIDE the first time]. Susie told me about this wonderful organization, this wonderful man, the wonderful things they were doing and everything. But when I saw it! You know, I like backing the right people.

KH: At GLIDE, we know we couldn’t do this auction without eBay. They’ve got an ethos and a commitment to philanthropy. They’ve been an incredible partner.

WB: Well, it’s been so successful. We were raising $25,000 a year by talking to just a few people. And as soon as we went on eBay, we essentially were talking to the whole world. Now we raise in the millions every year.

KH: The winners and eBay, they’re investing in GLIDE’s legacy. We spend money on the people. And everyone has our clients at the front of their minds.

WB: I talked to a couple of the top executives at eBay over the years and they feel really, really good about their participation through GLIDE. There’s nothing like backing winners, and helping people become winners.

 

 

Watch the full interview. 

Building social justice mindsets in law enforcement communities

With the arrival of Rabbi Michael Lezak last year, GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice (CSJ) has been able to expand and deepen the ways we emphasize truth and reconciliation in our efforts around advocacy, staff development, and community building. In April, CSJ welcomed police departments and district attorneys’ offices from around the western United States for our first “An Officer and a Mensch” training. This curriculum seeks to instill greater understanding and care between law enforcement and the people of historically oppressed communities like the Tenderloin.

Rabbi Michael leads the initiative in partnership with Chief Matt Carmichael from the University of Oregon Police Department, and Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

“I look at GLIDE as a lifeboat in a sea of need,” says Matt. “It’s a simple idea, to come where the need is and teach our criminal justice professionals that to be a good leader you have to know your community and who you serve. What better way to learn who you serve than spending time at GLIDE.”

Matt and Jeff along with about 25 law enforcement professionals spent three days at GLIDE, discussing everything from racism in the criminal justice system to the causes of the opioid crisis to what truly compassionate human interactions should look like. They also volunteered as a group in our Meals Program and met with GLIDE staff from across the organization to learn about our values-based approach towards serving our Tenderloin community.

“The vision was to create an opportunity to change the paradigm, to bring law enforcement leaders into this experience of opening our minds and broadening our perspectives, even if it’s just a little bit, to a different way of approaching the issues that affect us all: homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness,” says Jeff. “The goal and the prayer is for law enforcement leaders to develop more hope, more understanding and maybe change the way we do the job a little bit.”

GLIDE Senior Director of Programs Kyriell Noon speaking to the group about GLIDE services and community engagement. Photo credit: Alain McLaughlin

The training left a positive and lasting impression on the participants, so much so that Rabbi Michael and GLIDE are already prepared to welcome another group after Thanksgiving this year. Michael, along with Director of the CSJ Miguel Bustos, are in the process of refining the curriculum and in conversation with various law enforcement professionals about instituting it as part of the core training for officers in departments across the west coast.

“This partnership at GLIDE is the only one of its kind in the country,” says Matt. “What’s wonderful about what you did for us is that it’s a re-connection, a reminder of our responsibility to leave no one behind. We have to serve everyone.”

Chief Matt Carmichael speaking during the final session of the training. Photo credit: Alain McLaughlin