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During the month of May, GLIDE celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage. In this story, we highlight the Glidettes, a delightful group of Asian-identifying seniors and performers who embody GLIDE’s mission to create a loving and inclusive community. 

“For me, dancing is beautiful,” said Li Sucui, “It opens my heart like a flower, and it makes me happy.” At a spry 73, Li is a founding member of the Tenderloin Glidettes that come together each week to share in the delights of dance and song. Comprised mostly of GLIDE’s elder clients, the ensemble has garnered a reputation in the neighborhood for their spirited performances of both traditional Chinese dances and Western jigs. After an extended hiatus during the pandemic, the group is eagerly returning to in-person community events. 

Known in the community for their endearing dance and song, the Glidettes are eager to resume performances after two years of pandemic isolation.

The Glidettes formed four years ago out of a series of monthly “senior socials” held at Freedom Hall and led by Client Advocate, Tina Huang. “When I started working for GLIDE, I always fantasized about organizing a group that would represent Chinese culture,” said Tina. “I wanted to feature dancing – Not only traditional, like Chinese Lion, but also feature types from Western culture.” Hailing from Guangdong, just outside of Hong Kong, Tina came with her family to the United States in 1993. Six years ago, Tina came to learn about GLIDE and started as a volunteer.  

GLIDE serves a diverse community, with those who identify as Asian and Pacific Islander making up 16% of our clientele. Tina’s knowledge of Taishanese, the principal language of the Yue Chinese, comes in handy in connecting with clients. “When I came to GLIDE, and saw the homeless outside, it was difficult for me. But I really wanted to do something and be of service. I am always thinking about how much more our city can do to help those who are less fortunate and faced with tough times in their life,” said Tina. 

Tina, pictured left, dances with Li, center, at a senior luncheon in 2017.

Li, also from Guangdong, has been a resident of the Tenderloin for the past eight years, having arrived in the United States more than two decades ago. GLIDE first came to Li’s attention in 2016 when she visited 330 Ellis Street for breakfast as part of GLIDE’s Daily Free Meals program. She later ventured inside GLIDE and observed a group of seniors playing Bingo; she felt drawn to the welcoming environment and inspired to cultivate deeper connections with the community. She met up with both Tina Huang and Meals Navigator Diane Truong and the idea of having a senior group for dancing and singing was born.  

Li took part in traditional Chinese dance back in Taishan and, like Tina, she wanted the group to expand its repertoire by learning movements from other cultures. “We worked together to create this group dynamic that was not only respectful of safety but used slow movements so everyone could take part. YouTube was a great teacher,” Li chuckled. One of the oldest Glidettes, Menyi Wong (87) has her son ship over dance outfits so that the group can dress up for performances. 

The Glidettes returned to in-person events in April, putting on a special performance at the Tenderloin Sunday Streets.

The Glidettes have performed at various city functions over the years and while the pandemic may have slowed down their schedule of appearances, the group recently returned to the stage in full GLIDE orange regalia for the Tenderloin Sunday Streets event in April. For the Glidettes, a resounding theme of happiness permeates among the group and it is the reason they keep coming together. “It improves our quality of life. It feels good, both mentally and physically,” said Tina. “And when we dance and sing, we are in our moment of joy.”      

As GLIDE honors our mothers – alive and in spirit – we reflect on the essential roles they play as the first leaders in our lives, the first mentors, and the first caretakers. We celebrate our mothers for their accomplishments, contributions and humanity, but, as much as we’ve sought and made changes to laws, to systems and to our lives, progress for mothers and women remains frail. 

The past few years have created new realities that have worked against mothers, compounding with centuries of lagging policy and institutional support. As reproductive rights continue to be jeopardized in the United States, we face the highest maternal mortality rate in developed countries. At the same time, we have yet to establish universal parental leave and universal, subsidized childcare.  

As COVID-19 spurred an economic crisis, mothers – particularly those in the retail and service industries – lost their jobs. Women found themselves trapped at home with abusive partners, catapulting incidences of domestic violence and overwhelming hotlines and social service providers. Now, two years into the pandemic, new research is exposing an alarming increase in female suicide rates, worldwide. We see that all of these trends are worse for women of color and for low-income women. 

Despite the critical role they play and the disproportionate challenges that they face, mothers are often erased and forgotten, their stories untold. But when we don’t support mothers, we also hurt our children, our communities, and our national economy. 

“What if we asked how we could support mothers in return? What if we celebrated stay-at-home moms as the essential members of our society that they are rather than belittling their role? What if employers and colleagues recognize mothers as the ultimate test of multitasking, organization and empathy?” 

Anna Malaika Tubbs, author 

When mothers are celebrated for their contributions, when women are economically empowered to participate in workplaces, we see thriving communities. When men step into nontraditional caretaking roles as well, we see a balanced future. And when we change our narratives to center mothers, elevate their work, and articulate their value, we build a more representative, loving and just world. 
 
Happy Mother’s Day! 


 

In honor of Ramadan coming to an end, GLIDE Communications Associate, Humera Shaikh, and her sister, Fayeeza, share one of their favorite Ramadan recipes – Potato puff pastries!

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar and is observed by Muslims all over the world. It is a sacred month of fasting, worship, charity and community. The purpose of fasting is to practice gratitude and to cultivate empathy for the less fortunate. Eid al-Fitr, which translates to “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” marks the end of Ramadan. It is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Eid is an occasion for special prayers, family visits, gift-giving and charity.

Eid Mubarak to everyone who is celebrating!

GLIDE Voices is honoring Ramadan; we asked Humera Shaikh, Social Media & Communications Associate, what does Ramadan mean for you?

“Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in the Islamic calendar. It’s also the month where the first revelations of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who is the prophet and founder of Islam. During this month, Muslims fast for thirty days, from sunrise to sunset. It starts with a pre-dawn meal before sunrise, called suhur, and then it ends at sunset with a meal called iftar. Eid al-Fitr is the celebration after the thirty days of fasting. It’s a celebration where you get together with your community or your family, and you celebrate with your loved ones.  

When a lot of people think of Ramadan, they think about it as a month where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking. But it’s so much more than that. It is a month of spiritual reflection, worship, and charity. When I was young, I never really understood why we, as Muslims, fasted during the month. I was always that kid who was complaining about being hungry and counting down the hours until iftar. It wasn’t until I got older that I experienced the true significance of the month. 

For me, the month is really about empathy. I think that’s a huge takeaway – empathy for those who are suffering. When I’m fasting for these hours of the day, at the end of it, I get to break my fast. I think of the people who don’t have food and water and how they must feel. It makes you empathize with people and feel grateful for what you have. I wish more people knew about that spiritual side of Ramadan, that it isn’t just a month of abstaining from food and water. It’s a month that’s so beautiful – I think it’s so beautiful that billions of Muslims all over the world are coming back to their roots and re-grounding themselves.”

Humera Shaikh, Social Media & Communications Associate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2022

CONTACT
Denise Lamott
denise@deniselamottpr.com
(415) 381-8793

San Francisco, CA – GLIDE Foundation (GLIDE), a nationally recognized center for social justice, is pleased to announce the recent appointments of Tracy Layney, Allison L. Magee, Mark Ryle, and Virginia Walker to its Board of Directors. The four new members will help GLIDE in the implementation of its bold, large-scale strategic plan to deliver solutions to complex problems addressing both the symptoms and root causes of poverty and homelessness and to help more people off the streets, stabilize their lives, and thrive for good.

“We are genuinely thrilled to welcome Tracy, Allison, Mark, and Virginia to our Board,” said GLIDE President & CEO Karen Hanrahan. “With executive backgrounds in business and social innovation, collectively, they bring diverse and strategic experience from the worlds of finance, philanthropy, human resources, and nonprofit leadership that will contribute to the dynamic impact of our Board. Their insights will help advance GLIDE’s next generation of life-changing programs and services and our commitment to making lasting change in San Francisco.”

Tracy Layney is Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Levi Strauss & Co. Tracy is responsible for LS&Co.’s people strategy on a global scale, including diversity, equity & inclusion, recruiting, employee engagement, talent management, compensation and benefits, HR technology and HR communications.  “GLIDE’s mission to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization is deeply inspiring and critically urgent,” said Layney. “I am truly honored to be a part of this mission by joining GLIDE’s Board of Directors.”

Allison L. Magee has worked for more than 20 years to transform public systems to reflect the strengths of the community and to meet their needs. Allison is Executive Director of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most respected family foundations. ZFF promotes belonging, connection, and a shared sense of safety among people and communities across the Bay Area and California, with a focus on Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties.  “I am thrilled to serve on the GLIDE board of directors. GLIDE personifies the principles of radical love, joy, and dignity and I’m proud to be a small part of the critical work of this San Francisco institution, said Magee.”

Mark Ryle earned his undergraduate degree at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas. Soon after that, he left his proud west Texas roots for a career in corporate finance, investment banking, and private equity. After 25 years of acquiring, building, consolidating, and dissolving, he was led back to the family business of helping the most vulnerable among us. He went on to complete a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago. With several years of direct clinical work with children and families under his belt, Mark chose to merge his two worlds of leadership in business and social work together with the goal of building sustainability for vital services in San Francisco. He brings extensive strategic nonprofit leadership experience to GLIDE, including six years as CEO of Project Open Hand and three years as CEO of the Saint Francis Foundation. Mark noted on his LinkedIn page that he was both “honored and excited” by his invitation to join GLIDE’s Board of Directors.

Virginia Walker is a repeat C-suite executive and board member with 35+ years of financial, operations, strategy development, sales and marketing experience driving revenue and large financings for international organizations – from startups to F500 companies – in Silicon Valley and beyond. She has held CFO, VP Finance & Administration, EVP Corporate Strategy & Marketing, and GM North America Operations roles for public and private companies in highly regulated domains, including telecommunications, software, hardware, and biopharmaceuticals.  “I am honored to have been selected to join the GLIDE board. My relationship with Glide goes back to my early years in college participating in volunteer work there along with my fellow Alpha Kappa Alpha pledges,” said Walker. “That experience left quite an impression on me in terms of seeing firsthand the difference that each individual can make to positively impact the lives of the disenfranchised.  I look forward to adding my skill sets to those of the distinguished members of the GLIDE Foundation Board of Directors to help ensure that the implementation of its bold, new strategic plan is successful.”


Layney, Magee, Ryle, and Walker join current Board members Kaye Foster (Chair), Senior Advisor, The Boston Consulting Group; Mary Glide (Vice Chair), Vice President Technology, Sequoia Capital; Michael L. Warren (Secretary/Treasurer), Managing Director, Institutional Sales at Allspring Global Investments; Ime Archibong, Head of New Product Experimentation, Facebook; Emily Cohen, Executive Vice President, United Contractors; Paula R. Collins, CEO, WDG Ventures, Inc. and President, Portfolio Real Estate Consulting; Cheryl L. Flick, Financial Advisor; Crickette Brown Glad, Giver; Dr. Erica Lawson, Associate Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco; Hydra Mendoza, VP, Chief of Strategic Relationships, Salesforce; Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Founder & CEO, SoulTour; Gil Simon, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer, SoMa Equity Partners; Malcolm Walter, Former COO of Bentley Systems; Ross Weiner, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Explorer Acquisitions; Rev. Cecil Williams, Co-Founder, GLIDE; Lin-Hua Wu, Vice President of Global Communications & Public Affairs, Google; Phillip Zackler, General Counsel, VP of Operations.

About GLIDE:   

GLIDE is a nationally recognized center for social justice dedicated to fighting systemic injustices, creating pathways out of poverty and crisis, and transforming lives. GLIDE’s integrated comprehensive services, advocacy initiatives, and inclusive community empower individuals, families, and children to achieve stability and thrive. GLIDE is on the forefront of addressing some of the most pressing issues including poverty, housing and homelessness, and racial and social justice.    

For additional information, please visit GLIDE.org.

*NOTE TO REPORTERS/EDITORS:  GLIDE Foundation (GLIDE) is the correct name for the organization at 330 Ellis Street that organizes and provides the Daily Free Meals and other direct services and social justice programs. The church, historically called Glide Memorial Church, is a subsidiary of GLIDE. When referring to GLIDE social services and programs, please use the correct name, GLIDE Foundation, or simply GLIDE, rather than the historical name of the church.  

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GLIDE and eBay Present the Grand Finale 

“Power of One” Charity Auction Lunch with American legend Warren Buffett

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – GLIDE and eBay are pleased to present the grand finale of the Power of One Charity Auction Lunch with Warren Buffett.  Bidding will open on Sunday, June 12 at 7:30pm PDT.  After a two-year pandemic hiatus, this one-of-a-kind event is back in 2022, with the winning bidder having an opportunity to not only make history, but to spend an unforgettable afternoon with American legend Warren Buffett and build on GLIDE’s enduring legacy of impact.

Conceived by the late Susie Buffett,  the Power of One Charity Auction Lunch was launched in 2000 and initially raised $25,000. In 2003 and at Warren Buffet’s suggestion, the auction moved to eBay and since then has raised more than $34 million to support GLIDE.   All proceeds from Power of One Charity Auction Lunch go toward GLIDE’s transformative programs and services that lift people out of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, and advance equity through systems change. 

“GLIDE is recognized nationally as a leading center for equity and impact, dedicated to transforming lives. Warren Buffett’s friendship and generosity over the past 22 years have been invaluable in deepening GLIDE’s impact on the systems that drive poverty and inequity,” said GLIDE President and CEO Karen Hanrahan. “We are honored and deeply grateful for his unwavering support of GLIDE’s mission over the past two decades and his legacy will have a lasting positive impact on GLIDE and the clients we serve.” 

Since 2008, winning bids have exceeded $1M, and have helped GLIDE extend its reach and deepen its impact.  A cornerstone organization in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, GLIDE’s services have expanded to meet the challenges of the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased opioid overdoses and widening income disparity.  

GLIDE continues to move forward and is implementing a large-scale plan with evidence-based solutions that help more people in need exit crises into stability and onto pathways out of poverty. These innovative initiatives include expanded integrated mobile services to extend GLIDE’s reach into underserved communities and ensure more women and families of color get the support to make sustainable changes in their lives. Focused on impact and combating systems that foster inequity, GLIDE is influencing institutions of power, advancing policies and investments that break cycles of intergenerational poverty and homelessness, and enabling people to thrive for good.  

The Power of One Charity Auction Lunch launched on eBay in 2003, at the urging of Mr. Buffett who knew the marketplace had the power to attract bidders from all over the world. Since then, eBay has helped raise more than $34 million over the course of 20 lunches. eBay for Charity is one of the world’s largest charitable platforms, enabling eBay’s global community of 147 millions buyers to support the causes that matter most to them. 

“Every day, eBay connects people and builds communities in order to create economic opportunity for all,” said eBay’s CEO, Jamie Iannone. “eBay for Charity was created to pioneer a bold new model of charitable giving on one of the world’s largest marketplaces. Since its inception, through the generosity of our community, we’ve helped thousands of organizations around the world raise more than $1.1 billion on our platform. With Warren Buffett’s final Power Lunch we anticipate another record-setting auction with all proceeds supporting GLIDE – an organization that aligns with our mission and values by empowering people, promoting equality and creating economic opportunity.”

Bidding for this year’s Power of One Charity Auction Lunch begins at 7:30 pm PDT on June 12, 2022 and ends at 7:30 pm PDT on June 17, 2022.  Bidding starts at $25,000 and all bidders must be pre-qualified prior to the start of the event. To pre-qualify, visit: eBay.com/GLIDE.  Two billboards to announce the grand finale event went up today in Omaha in advance of the Berkshire & Hathaway annual shareholder’s meeting on April 30th. 

Winning bidders and up to seven of their guests dine at one of Mr. Buffett’s favorite restaurants – Smith & Wollensky in NYC.  As host of the annual Power of One Charity Auction Lunch, Alan Stillman, founder of Smith & Wollensky, has generously donated tens of thousands of dollars to the event. The restaurant has been called “the quintessential New York steakhouse” by Gourmet Magazine and “the steakhouse to end all arguments” by The New York Times.

For more information about the grand finale of the Power of One Charity Auction Lunch with Warren Buffett , please contact GLIDE at (415) 674-6060Buffett@GLIDE.org,  or visit eBay.com/GLIDE. For more information about GLIDE please visit GLIDE.org.

About GLIDE:
For nearly six decades spanning political, economic and cultural changes, GLIDE has served as a social justice movement, social service provider and spiritual community dedicated to strengthening communities and transforming lives.   GLIDE is a nationally-recognized center for equity, dedicated to fighting systemic injustices, creating pathways out of poverty and crisis, and transforming lives. Through our integrated comprehensive services, advocacy initiatives, and inclusive community, we empower individuals, families, and children to achieve stability and thrive. GLIDE is on the forefront of addressing some of society’s most pressing issues, including  poverty, housing and homelessness, and racial and social justice.

About eBay for Charity
eBay for Charity enables members of the eBay community to connect with and support their favorite charities when they buy or sell in the U.S. and abroad. Sellers can donate up to 100 percent of the proceeds to a charity of their choice, while buyers can add a donation to their purchase during checkout. To date, more than $1.1 billion dollars has been raised for charity by the eBay community, and the program is on-track to raise an additional $600 million by 2025. Visit www.eBayforCharity.org for more information.

About eBay
eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects people and builds communities to create economic opportunity for all. Our technology empowers millions of buyers and sellers in more than 190 markets around the world, providing everyone the opportunity to grow and thrive. Founded in 1995 in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. In 2021, eBay enabled over $87 billion of gross merchandise volume. For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit www.ebayinc.com.

CONTACT:
Denise Lamott, for GLIDE
(415) 381–8793, Denise@DeniseLamottPR.com

Michael McAlpin, for GLIDE
(415) 674-6016, mmcalpin@glide.org

Evelyn Kha, for eBay
(408) 284-9804, ekha@ebay.com

GLIDE Voices is honoring Passover; we asked Rabbi Michael Lezak, what does Passover mean to you?     

“Passover might be the best Jewish story, because it’s a story of hope. It’s a story of finding the deep courage to look head on at pain, to know that pain does not last forever. It can be transformed, can be transformed by God, or it can be transformed by human beings. We see it on a daily basis, how we at GLIDE transform people’s lives. 

In the Torah, which is the Jewish Bible, we read many stories. One of the central stories there is about how the Israelites, the Jewish people, were enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years. They were enslaved by a series of leaders that were called Pharaoh. The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mizraim, and it means a narrow or squeezed place. When you are enslaved, you cannot make any choices, you are hurt physically, you have no time off. So, I think about that ‘being squeezed’ notion. I have never been enslaved, but mythically, my people have been, and every year at Passover we retell the story. We live the story. We eat the story. We share meals that make that story come to life. 

Passover is an eight-day festival. We clean our houses fervently before. We take any leavened products, any baked goods out of the house and we only eat flat bread that we call matzo. Matzo is the bread of poverty in the Passover story book, which is called the Haggadah. It is the bread we eat for Passover because when we were running away from Pharaoh, we didn’t have time to let our bread rise. So, for eight days in a row, my kids, my family, and my community eat this bread that we ate when we were running out of Egypt. It is a reminder you came from brutality; your people were born out of an experience that forged you as a people, an experience that was brutal and intense. 

36 times in the Torah, it says, ‘Remember, you were a stranger in a strange land.’ So, to my mind, it’s like, ‘Don’t ever forget you came from that horrific place,’ which fuels me into looking to people living in dire straits today and saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ And one of the main answers is GLIDE. GLIDE helps, as does the Jewish community. I want to be a part of that. I’m at GLIDE in many reasons because of the Passover story, because the force of grabbing liberation is a story I wanted to tell and wanted to be a part of.” 

Rabbi Michael Lezak

The lobby at GLIDE was buzzing with activity on the morning of March 3rd, crowded with visitors looking for a brief reprieve from the cold San Francisco winter.

As staff and visitors milled, a voice cut through the crowd with a tone of urgency as bone-chilling and silencing as the wind outside – “Give me all the Narcan we’ve got, I need all the Narcan we’ve got!” The room froze as the collective heart skipped a beat. Undistracted, Iris swept up armfuls of the nasal sprays and ran outside hastily. The lobby filtered out behind her as she belted down the street.

At the corner of Ellis and Jones, the body of a man laid strewn on the ground, under the dark awnings of a corner store. Iris hovered over him. There was no pulse – he had overdosed. The crowd drew timidly closer as Iris began to administer Narcan. One dose, two doses, she sprayed one after the other into his nose. Tim lay still.

Three doses. The street had fallen silent.

Four doses.

Tim jolted, his sharp inhale reverberated against the walls of the quiet buildings. As his eyes fluttered open, he turned a confused gaze towards Iris.

 “You were dead, hon,” Iris said.

“What?” Tim replied.

“You were dead. I brought you back.”

In the distance, a crescendo of sirens signaled the ambulance that came four Narcans too late.

Iris stands outside of GLIDE, just hours after administering life-saving Narcan

For the People

The numbers speak volumes of a crisis that continues to wreak havoc in San Francisco – 650 lives were lost to overdose in 2021 alone in the city, a 59% increase from just before the pandemic in 2019. What’s more, nearly 80% of all opioid overdose deaths take place outside of medical settings, ushering in a new era where heroes in street clothes are stepping into the role of first responder.

“Everyone on GLIDE’s Community Safety team knows how to administer Narcan, we all get trained,” Iris explained shortly after her encounter with Tim. “I don’t wear a doctor uniform, but I’ve saved so many lives out here, I don’t even count anymore.”

Many members of GLIDE’s Community Safety Team carry doses of Narcan with them as a precaution

“In this neighborhood, anything can happen,” said Lorenzo, another member of GLIDE’s Community Safety team. On the morning of the overdose, Lorenzo was key in alerting Iris to the emergency. For both colleagues, there was a deeper connection to Tim that heightened the urgency of their response. “GLIDE knows who Tim is, personally,” Lorenzo explained. “I see him every day, he eats here every day. This was something that I needed to do.”

The Community Safety team at GLIDE holds some of the closest relationships with clients, interacting with hundreds of people each day and slowly building trust through their honesty, transparency, and genuine acts of service. In this way, clients like Tim know who they can turn to when they are ready to receive support, no matter where they are on their path to stability.

Unconditional Love

Several weeks after his overdose, Tim returned to GLIDE to pick up a meal and speak with Iris. As he recounts, the close call was spurred on by a syringe containing unknown substances.

After hearing of Tim’s experience, Iris took the opportunity to connect him with GLIDE’s Harm Reduction services, where he can access clean needles, free HIV testing, and his own supply of the Narcan that saved his life just weeks ago.

“It was a big mistake,” Tim recalls. “But if you didn’t come up, Iris, I could’ve been way worse. They said I could’ve been dead.”

As the two parted ways, Iris left with a reminder – “I love you, Tim. Give me a hug.”

GLIDE Voices is honoring Ramadan; we asked Guled Muse, Community Engagement Manager, what does Ramadan mean to you?    

“Ramadan is very transformative.  It is a way to honor the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and to honor the first revelations of Quran scripture. It’s a way to feel spiritually connected to the rest of the Muslim community and those who don’t have anything.  

Ramadan, to me, is about revival, it’s about reflection, and it’s about reciprocity. After being able to fast for 30 days, it pushes a reset button to your whole mind frame on how you see life. It also shows what determination can do and it helps me really reflect on my shortcomings, but also the state of the world. Oftentimes, when you suppress yourself from eating or drinking, you reach that moment of survival where the only person you’re thinking about is yourself. For me to get my mind away from that, I think about others and think about others who are suffering. There are many parts of the world where people are not even able to break their fast but still have to oblige this sacred obligation. It makes me count my blessings. 

If there’s one important thing that I wish people knew about Ramadan, is the sense of community that you get when you break your fast with a fellow man. It’ll be somebody you don’t even know. You don’t know what their life is, you don’t know what their social status is or how much money they make or where they’re at, but in the house of God, you’re able to break bread with your brother and that’s all you see him as. And that’s a level of community and empathy that I wish people really understood. 

I would love to just share this Ayat. An Ayat is a revelation, a divine revelation. And the thing is, it’s a divine revelation to let you know that higher power exists. It doesn’t only pertain to description. It’s “verily with every hardship comes ease.” So, for everyone doing this work, especially when you feel down and out, just know that there’s wisdom, there’s beauty in it. Anybody working at GLIDE, we all know that this work is hard. But for every hardship comes true ease, that’s in the Quran.” 

Guled Muse, Community Engagement Manager

As GLIDE continues its celebration of Women’s History Month, we reflect on the achievements and contributions women have made to the GLIDE community and to the racial and social justice movements in American history. In keeping with our recognition of remarkable women, we present a special feature on GLIDE Archivist Marilyn Kincaid. Marilyn began working at GLIDE in 1998 as an assistant to Co-Founder Janice Mirikitani, and worked closely with Co-Founder Reverend Cecil Williams, who she fondly refers to as just Jan and Cecil. After many years of witnessing GLIDE history, Marilyn was later tasked with preserving it. Read more from Marilyn below as she talks about her journey, influential women of GLIDE, and how she keeps GLIDE’s history alive.

Marilyn posing with an original photo of GLIDE’s namesake, Lizzie Glide

Q: Can you talk about your background and what drew you to GLIDE?

A: I’m from Chicago originally and moved out here in 1992. I saw Glide Memorial Church and instantly recognized the name, primarily because of Cecil’s prominence in the news and in the San Francisco area. I thought, “What the heck, give it a shot.” I applied for a job and Jan interviewed me. The position was to be Jan’s assistant, and we really connected during the interview. You could tell we had a real good feel for each other. 

So, I got the job and I worked as Jan’s assistant in the Celebration office. The Celebration office was a wild, crazy place working for those two dynamic people, who were constantly coming up with ideas and programs and things that they wanted to make happen at GLIDE. Cecil was very good at coming up with ideas and Jan was very good at executing them. The other thing I loved about working for Jan and Cecil was that they were totally open to clients as well as staff. People were streaming in and out of that office all the time wanting to talk to them, wanting to get counseling about something. But when you understood what was happening, you realized that the time you were putting in was more than worthwhile. That you were literally helping to save lives, to change lives, because that’s what Jan and Cecil were doing, with both clients and staff.

Jan was the one who was meeting with all the women’s groups, children’s groups and the poetry groups that she had formed. Jan herself suffered abuse, sexual abuse, as a teenager from her stepfather. And also, her family was interned in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. So she really suffered some very negative experiences growing up. But ironically, that’s what also enabled her to reach out to other women and create these programs, especially for women who had been sexually abused as children, and encouraged them to write poetry, express their feelings. So, just amazing how those programs literally saved lives. Women’s lives were changed.

Q: How did you become GLIDE’s archivist?

A: When I first started the archives, which was in 2010, I had gotten old and decided to retire. Jan said, “Well, maybe you could step in and work just part-time in the archive.” So, I began to create files and an organizing system for all of the records, documents, newspaper clippings, videos, awards and tons of photographs. Most of these came out of the Celebration office where Jan and Cecil had drawers full of stuff. And sometimes I would accumulate records and files from the specific programs, the recovery programs and the women’s programs, the walk-in center, and we had a health clinic. So eventually, I would have to get these into boxes. And they also included, by the way, things like posters and flyers and publicity materials and newsletters. It was a huge project, still going on. It’ll never end because GLIDE is still here and still creating history! 

Q: Is there anything in particular from the archives that means a lot to you? 

A: Lizzie Glide building this church and the history of GLIDE’s office building as apartments for women. It was just a real eye opener and it steeped me and grounded me in the history, the original history of GLIDE going all the way back to Lizzie, a remarkable woman who was ahead of her time, who started the whole thing.  The office building used to be a hotel and apartments, containing 50 single rooms, and 15 two-room apartments. The pastor and his family lived here and the rooms rented out to single working women cost $20 a month. This was happening in 1931 when this was all completed. And remember, this was before the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge were even built. So, that just puts the history of this in perspective. 

Q: What do you love about working at GLIDE?

A: For me, GLIDE is not just a job. Every day brings an intense feeling of being alive, an acute awareness of being in the world that comes from the sense of making a difference. This exhilarating sense of being alive is nourished by the energy, the enthusiasm, the commitment and the joy shared by the whole collective community that we call GLIDE. The community made up of our staff, our clients, our donors and supporters, our board members and even the celebrities who come here. It’s a spiritual high.