What a damn near unendurable year this has been, yet all of us hunker down, persist, even thrive in the conditions we've been handed. We endure. There's something fine and lovely in that, even in the midst of awful pain and sadness. As Community Partners project leaders and project staff, you see close up the realities that have angered, awed, agitated, astonished and activated all of us every single day since long before the pandemic overwhelmed everything that once passed for normal. Your work enables people often struggling against immense odds to envision their destinies and enact their future prospects with greater agency and self-determination, even when doing so means just putting one step ahead of the other and getting through the day. At your best, you wake up, spend your day and go to sleep mindful of the basic decency we must summon to bind us in the great project of humanity and democracy. In so doing, you embody the spirit of civil society.
Each year, since my dear friend and Community Partners co-founder Albert Rodriguez died in 2009, we have conferred a handful of Civic Legacy Honors in Al’s name that celebrate a few Community Partners project leaders who stand in and stand up for all project leaders. This year, by unanimous concurrence of the Board of Directors, we turn the spotlight of The Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honors on every project that we presently sponsor. Given the necessary curbs on assembling in large groups, and with Zoom being a poor substitute for true conviviality, there’s no intimate way to bring us all together and commemorate this collective honor as we have done for the last 28 years during our usual festive holiday gathering.
To distinguish and honor all of you, this year’s Civic Legacy honorees, we will direct the funds we ordinarily budget for the gathering to The Shelter Partnership, a long-established, highly effective organization that every single day through its vast goods distribution network feeds, clothes and helps sustain the widest imaginable diversity of people in the region who know from lived experience the burden of what it takes to survive.
We realize that our gift to The Shelter Partnership in the name of our current sponsored projects represents merely a gesture in the face of astonishing challenges arising before us every day. So, in this holiday season when we would have ordinarily gathered, perhaps you’ll consider pausing briefly to reflect on your good work in ways that fire your imagination and energize your spirit for what lies ahead.
Al Rodriguez, bless his soul, would be honored to know you one and all, and to have his name joined with the work you do.