Dear partners,

Welcome to 2021!  We have lots of anticipation for what this new year holds.  On Friday, January 1st the entire country took a collect sigh to shake off the remnants of the “unprecedented” year of struggle which was 2020.  No one could have imagined what 2020 had in store for the world last January.  It was hard; yet, grew stronger and pulled together, working across race, class, community and organizational boundaries to be better.

And we have much to look forward to in 2021.  ROC the Future will transition to a new anchor entity, the Children’s Institute in a few months, and there is lots of anticipation for the next level of work to come.  Equally, we must also express our gratitude and appreciation for all that has occurred to help ROC the Future to be in the position to make such a move.  We are thankful to The Children’s Agenda for being the host anchor for ROC the Future for the past 7 years.  The words “host” and “anchor” are not quite adequate to describe the nature of our relationship, nor to accurately represent the nurturing and support of our development as we grew from an initiative with one staff, to a fully-functioning backbone alliance of eight.  Truly, The Children’s Agenda provided the groundwork, support, nurturing and safe space necessary to build a foundation for growth, alignment and community impact.  Indeed, the word “thankful” is equally inadequate; but where words might fail, we will acknowledge and affirm through our behavior and our progress the importance of this support to our collective.

This year, 2021, our move to the Children’s Institute will bring about a whole new and different set of supports for ROC the Future’s next stage, as we hone our ability to move our community more substantively towards systems change.  In order to achieve true transformation, we must change the systems that perpetuate inequity in our communities, so that our policies and practices work better, and best for our children and families.  Systems change is not easy because at its core is behavior change, which requires much reflection, transparency, authenticity, and time.  This is hard work, but we are convinced that our community is poised for the work and in agreement that it is necessary.

And as some sort of perverse reminder to not get too far ahead of ourselves, this week we collectively experienced the trauma of an outrageous armed assault in our nation’s capital that acknowledges a hard truth – oppression and supremacy are still alive and well in our democracy, and it will take our collective work and will to change.

The work is dense and the struggle continues.

For the Children,

Jackie Campbell