Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Regina's Journey to Now

2009 Holy-day Appeal
Dear NY Faith & Justice Friends and Family,

This is the second of two emails this month with a snapshot of our work and an appeal for your partnership. This time last year, we were $20,000 down. This year we expect to enter 2010 at $0. It's been an extremely tough year for grants, but we know that if every person who received this email gave just $50 we could fund every initiative we have planned for 2010!

As you spend hours traveling to be with family and friends, we want you to remember Regina's Journey and consider how your small gift could be a huge gift for her community in 2010.

I met Regina on January 17, 2007. I am honored, now, to introduce you to her. Meet Regina Howard-Norman. Meet an oak of justice.

Regina Howard-Norman
Regina's Journey to Now
In her own words...

Before January 17, 2007 I was a stay at home mother of 4, engaged with my children's educational growth. I had volunteered to serve on the Community Educational Council (District 9) since 2004. I was an educated black woman with a Master's Degree. With all of this, its hard to explain why, but I could not see what I had to offer. I had no steady income, I was in a strained relationship that I was on the verge of giving up and I felt worthless and guilty for not doing more for myself, my children, and my partner.

Then on January 17 2007, I attended the Public Forum on Violence that took place at my church, Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the South Bronx. The community had gathered in response to the shooting of Sean Bell and four other New York City residents in late 2006. Rev. Derrick Boykin (Associate Minister, Walker Memorial and co-founder of NY Faith & Justice) called the community to respond to this crisis differently--through proactive justice.

I surprised myself at the conclusion of the Forum when I stood up and joined 9 other community members who walked forward and committed to be part of the solution. The seeds of Conversations for Change and my own transformation were planted that night.

Conversations for Change was absolutely empowering! For the first time in a long time I felt like my voice mattered as I joined community members and police officers in dialogue to name the problems and search for solutions.

Fast forward to December 2009 the changes in my life are nothing short of miracles:
  1. February 2007. I Started working with Dress for Success as the Bronx Branch Manager. WOW! In 2010 I will be with Dress for Success for 3 years and I have implemented several initiatives for our Bronx Branch Office.
  2. February 2009. The Conversations for Change-South Bronx Pilot launched five weeks of Conversation Circles with great results. 3 of my 4 children participated with me in the Conversation Circles and are serving on the 2010 planning committee.
  3. April 2009. I went with NY Faith & Justice to Washington D.C. to speak to congressional representatives on behalf of under-resourced neighborhoods regarding separate and unequal health care!
  4. October 2009. I married the love of my life--Big Miracle!
  5. Earlier this month, I spoke about Conversations for Change in front of the New York Clergy Task Force at 1 Police Plaza.
  6. I am currently helping to organize our February 2010 Round of South Bronx Conversations for Change
  7. And I am now a member of We Are The Bronx Fellowship, a coalition of senior and middle managers from diverse organizations in the Bronx.
Who would have thought three years ago that this is where I would be now. Only God knows where I'll be in another three years.

~ Regina Howard-Norman


Your gifts make real transformation happen. Have faith. Do justice in 2010. Click on these links or scroll down to see ways your gifts can fan the flames of this kind of transformation in neighborhoods and lives like Regina's in 2010.

Happy Holy-Days!

Lisa Sharon Harper
Co-founder and Executive Director
New York Faith & Justice

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