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Mayfair Stands Up AND Stands Strong


“The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something…If you go out and make good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” -President Barack Obama

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Dear SOMOS Family,

As 2017 draws to a close, it is customary to reflect on all the things that we are grateful for. Gratitude comes from many places -- our health; our work; our children and families; our friends and neighbors; our culture and traditions. And, in addition to all of these things, I am personally grateful that SOMOS Mayfair is local, place-based, and deeply rooted in community.
Why? It has been particularly hard to let my natural optimism shine this year.  Admittedly, I have felt disappointment, overwhelmed, fearful, heart-broken, and angry; all stemming from the divisive narratives, targeted discriminatory policies, violence, and natural disasters. It often felt like there was a never-ending deluge of sadness and pain, here and all over the world. It was easy to feel like the societal problems were too big to get a handle on. And, there were definitely days where it felt better to stay home and disengage.
But in times when many of us, myself included, wanted to tap out and sit on the sidelines, Mayfair children, youth, Promotoras, parents, and neighbors, stood up and stood strong.
Time and time again, I witnessed their compassion, resilience, determination, and power. 

  • Voices of Mayfair: In collaboration with the School of Arts and Culture, children created beautiful artwork for the neighborhood, telling stories of family, community, and their greatest dreams.
  • DACA Extensions: Our youth marched, rallied, and raised money to support one another in the wake of the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 
  • SOMOS Fuertes Launch: 21 Promotoras attended weekly workshops for the last 6 months to hone their entrepreneurial skills, resulting in the launch of their cooperative business and creating an alternative model for economic opportunity.
  • Alum Rock Union School District Organizing: Parents persistently showed up, month after month to our local school board meetings to demand transparency, accountability, and a quality education. 
  • Affordability and Housing Access: And, neighbors told their stories and took action in house meetings, community forums, and City and County hearings, sharing their lived experiences and advocating for a better quality of life for us all.

They all demonstrated that change happens here. SOMOS el cambio (WE ARE the change).

They reminded me of why we press on -- for hope, for love, for the next generation.
So, this holiday season, and in the year ahead, may we constantly remind ourselves of the great impact we each have in this world. May we be kind to one another, immerse ourselves in our local communities and anchor ourselves in all that sustains us.
Thank you for being a friend and an ally to us in this work.
Wishing you a very happy holiday season!
With gratitude,

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Chelsey Cartwright