Greetings relatives, we would like to thank our ancestors for another day of life. During this challenging time, we are struggling through uncertainty with our loved ones and our community. This pandemic has not stopped the hope and healing Fathers & Families of San Joaquin delivers to our families. We can’t stop, won’t stop. In light of COVID-19, we are continuing to spread love, not fear, and giving people a reason to live with purpose. “I can’t breathe.” Was the cry heard all around the world. Climate change has collided with the social political climate and pandemic to create the perfect storm that has highlighted the toxic compounded racial inequities and structural racism with its burdens and barriers shouldered by people of color. We can’t breath. We can’t breathe until we have clean air and water. We can’t breathe until we have healing. We can’t breathe until we have justice. We can’t breathe until we have equity. We can’t breathe until you see our full humanity. We can’t breathe. We couldn’t breathe long before COVID-19 decimated our community.
Stockton knew what it was like to live amid an epidemic. The epidemic of a war that targeted our brown and black communities. The epidemic of a mortgage crisis and years of gentrification that pushes hard-working families out of their homes. The epidemic of an economy that relies on our labor but denies working people dignity and respect. An epidemic of trauma, illiteracy, and violence caused by cycles of poverty which leave people hurting, hopeless, and with few opportunities for change. A proper diagnosis is half the cure and the key to survival. The problem isn’t our people. We know that all life is sacred, everyone has intrinsic worth and together we can be instruments of peace.
The problem is that for decades, California’s policies and investments have treated poverty and trauma with solutions that don’t work – policing and incarceration, distrust and disinvestment. It’s made us sicker. And we are sick of being sick and tired of being tired. We have now taken matters into our own hands. The State of California has hit a proverbial glacier and the ship is sinking. And like any ship, it has 3 tiers. The captain who is steering the ship, our governor and his administration. The middle tier, the philanthropic investors giving their funding recommendations to the captain. And the bottom tier, the hull, where it’s dark and damp. Where the engine emits fumes and air is toxic, and where our people are living in scarcity. Also where the epicenter of the impact is located and concentrated. We believe that people closest to the problems are closest to the solutions to change the trajectory and chart a new course. As we continue to see massive gentrification of people of color from the Bay Area, regional inequity is stark and real.
In Stockton, to heal our community, a new diagnosis emerged and we knew a different kind of treatment was the only cure. Our people have long known what it takes to survive a pandemic – hope, healing, and love. Stockton is the centerpiece of the Civil Rights movement of our generation. The moment is right now. The question is what kind of ancestors will we be? We will be defined by the investments and choices we make today. Let us live to our espoused values as the Golden State. The State of California has a debt to pay to Stockton and the Central Valley. Stockton will move this state, as Stockton goes so does the Valley and as the Valley goes so does the State. Let’s get this ship in order. The following are highlights of the positive impact we have been able to have on our community, the lives we’ve changed and saved. We are Stockton and we are still rising.
Year to date, we have delivered over 1,000 bags of food (10,000 lbs.+ of sustenance) to more than 200 families, provided over 80 vulnerable single-parent families with baby supplies, paid over $80,000 in community reinvestment rental subsidy checks to ensure that 120 undocumented and out of work families do not get evicted by predatory landlords, provided formerly incarcerated individuals with over 10,600 hours of on-the-job training (totaling over $160,000 worth of redistribution to our community). Join us in helping keep our families fed, our babies and children safe, and our working community housed, together we can show with love and give people a reason to live with purpose!.