You Can’t Give From an Empty Cup
Recently, I had a family emergency that took me away from work for a couple of weeks. During that time, my colleagues encouraged me to take the time I needed to be with my family, and most importantly, to take care of myself.
And I did. With the help and support of my colleagues, I was able to focus on my family and myself, and did not need to think about my work duties.
But community organizers dedicated to making our communities better and addressing the inequities they see and experience don’t have the staff, resources and time to take days off.
This is especially true for organizers in the immigrant and refugee rights movement who are facing an endless barrage of attacks against their communities at the federal, state and local levels.
In our work building relationships within the movement, NCRP has heard from organizers experiencing burnout, working long hours day after day to reach and support their communities with limited staff.
Funders that want to see movements grow and succeed can help by funding in ways that prevent and alleviate organizer burnout.
Organizations don’t just benefit from having a full, healthy staff with sustainable salaries and paid time off, the whole movement benefits.
With less organizer burnout, organizations would have more capacity for:
- Mobilizing people.
- Building power within communities.
- Healing from the trauma they experience.
- Resilience against the threats and attacks they face.
By prioritizing mental, emotional and physical health, organizers could fight the dehumanization they face every day. They would have more power to:
- Prevent deportations.
- Prevent harmful laws from being passed.
- Secure rights for immigrants and refugees.
And funders can help make the healing, resistance and power-building happen. It starts with flexible general operating support and multi-year funding, which can go a long way for an organization, as well as what the movement achieves. This support will help organizations:
- Pay their staff livable salaries.
- Hire more staff.
- Ensure that staff have health benefits and paid time off.
And when organizers are mentally and physically healthy, they increase their capacity to build relationships, and connect communities so that, collectively, communities can heal and fight back.