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Episode 12 Transcript

Remember Why You're Here Episode 12

Episode 12 Transcript

Pride Started as a Protest (ft. Kimi Barbosa)

Episode Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Kimi Barbosa:
Nature is queer, nature is intersect, nature is trans.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Remember why you're here is a podcast created by the Center for Innovation and Resources where we talk with experts about what started their journey to do work around abuse and healing.

To learn more about what we do, visit CIRINC org. Kim Barbosa (She/ They/ella) is a queer pansexual, neurodivergent individual and proud kin to two hardworking parents who immigrated from the beautiful land of Mina Brazil, driven by their commitment to social change. Kimi has shared over a decade of their life serving youth and communities of color advocating for inclusive policies and practices in the nonprofit and public sector. Kimi is committed to cultivating transformative, non extractive and equitable workplaces outside of their work.Kimi takes great joy in raising a cool little human and having family outings.

 

Kimi, it is so awesome to have you here with us and truly an honor that you agreed to come onto the podcast.I am very, very excited for this episode and for this conversation. Tell me how you're doing.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Hi. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited as well. I'm great today. A little bit of allergies. It's like summer things are blooming and my throat doesn't like it, so excuse the scratchiness. But I'm super excited to be here and, um, be chatting with you all.

 

Aimee Hanna: 
Yes, same. After graduation. We all got sick. I was like, oh no, I'm gonna lose my voice for the podcast. But thankfully that didn't happen. We're in this together. We're in this together—scratchy throats together! All right, so tell me about what you do now.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
So, I am the Executive Director of Positive Images. Positive Images is LGBTQIA2S+ Community center up north here in Santa Rosa, California. We do a lot of cool, really cool stuff in the community. We just expanded pretty substantially for a really long time.

Let's see, we've been around since 1990. We were founded by Jim Foster, who was a queer LMFT, and he saw this need in the community. Hey, our gay bisexual lesbian youth are having a really hard time mentally, right? So it was really centered on suicide prevention and on mental health. It was super grassroots and it grew and they moved out of his living room into an actual space and became a real nonprofit for 30 something years. They operated with a really small budget, like 250,000, which is not a lot in a high cost of living area, but somehow they made it work. And recently we had two capacity building grants and it's really allowed us to, one, they hired me, which I'm the first ED they've had in eight years. So it's really cool. And to really take the org into a new direction of like this intersectional approach to our LGBTQIA2S+  community. Right? Like that's something that the org didn't have capacity for before, is having like language justice and how do we use like healing justice frameworks and liberatory practices in our programs and where do we wanna expand our programs and how do we make it accessible and uphold, like disability justice for example. 


 

Aimee Hanna:
That's incredible. Are there any specific projects that you're excited about?

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Oh yeah. Yeah.  I'll do a couple of my favorites. So we just expanded our bilingual bicultural programming. So this is huge. So we know that being queer is definitely a stigma, especially in the Latina community. I'm Brazilian, so I totally get, I'm South American, right? Grew up Catholic, but my family is, when I came out they were like, what the heck? I just want grandchildren. What is all this extra stuff you're talking about? Also, you can't be queer. That is a huge stigma in the community and the reason why a lot of folks don't really feel safe to come out at home or feel supported when they do come out. And because it is stigmatized, I think a lot like mental health, we don't talk about it and therefore we don't have the tools to understand it or the shared language to understand it. Mm-Hmm. So some of the work that we're doing is working with Spanish speaking families, specifically families. Like we wanna support our queer Latine folks, but also the families to help bring up that awareness around what it is to be LGBTQIA2S+, right? What does that actually mean? What does that look like? And start like cultivating the shared language that folks can use so they can be supportive of their family. And we've been getting some really good feedback from like ours and RAs in the community who are like, wait, oh, I'm so excited. Like I've never had an opportunity to ask this question. So they get really curious and they start asking questions in, it's such a safe space. It's like for us by us, right? It is led by queer and trans Latine folks who are helping build that bridge. And all of it is just to make more compassionate family members, right? For when folks do feel safe to come out or folks who have already come out so they don't feel like they have to leave the home. Right? That was something I love my mom, sorry mom if you're listening to this, but she didn't talk to me for a few weeks after I, I came out. So, and that was lucky for it just to be a few weeks. Mm-Hmm. So that program is really rebuilding that connection. Yeah. Rebuilding connection with family, with community  and bringing in this element that is just continuously being stigmatized and legislated. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
—And similarly, I wanted to touch on to, we are doing a county wide needs assessment for LGBTQIA2S+ folks. We are always hearing data here. We're in Sonoma County. We're experiencing housing crisis. We are experiencing high cost of living. We're experiencing folks who are farm workers and undocumented, unable to access resources. Everyone's having a really hard time. And each study that we see come out, some of them are really good and a lot of of them, if not all of them, say they are lacking LGBTQIA2S+ data. They're lacking data on our population. And if we know like what are these social determinants of health and what helps you survive or thrive or do better, right?It is race first and foremost—

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
—But then also gender identity and sexual orientation plays a huge part in it. So to omit this data or to just think that it's not significant enough, it does a real disservice to the real life stories and experiences of queer people in Sonoma County. So we are going through

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
—and we're collecting these stories and I'm just really excited to see these stories come through qualitative and quantitative and how we can use it for advocacy.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Storytelling is the future. It's like part of creating indigenous like indigi-queer centered futures in my opinion.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Yeah. Like storytelling's at the heart of that.

 

Aimee Hanna:
I wanna return to the moment where you were mentioning some dark times with your mom, I imagine, to get to where you are and to get to this very important work. Obviously you've had to go through some hard times to get to where you are now. So if you'd like to share your story and also how you managed to lift yourself up out of those to keep going, to keep fighting your—for your community's liberation and access to equitable resources.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Oh, I love that. Thank you. I think that that's really the key of all the work that we do. 

So I mentioned kind of that tension of my mom. I came out when I was 12. I was in middle school, I already had my girlfriend and I see her walking up the street and I was like, oh fudge. I probably should tell my mom about this before like we hug or something. I just came out by too. I wasn't like coming out as like lesbian yet at that point. Yeah. And it's been fluid since then. I went back and forth a lot. Right. I'm pan now. I'm pan. Of course gender is not a component. So there was that tension. But it all came from their lived histories too. Right. They immigrated to the south Central Valley actually of California from Brazil—That's a farm worker town. My dad was a farm worker and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. 'cause she didn't have uh, documentation at the time. They came here for the American Dream and instead of getting the American dream they hoped for, they faced significant hardships and significant barriers, especially for access to critical services like mental health. My dad who struggled a lot with schizophrenia. So that service was so critical and I just don't think he really got the healing justice that he deserved. I didn't know that that piece of my life would really inform what I'm doing now. But that has come up for me a lot. But we also didn't get the basic needs we needed for our young family. We were shelter unstable and financially unstable. And because of this, I actually became Shelterless at 12. So I was going in and out of juvenile detention, mental health facilities. I was even in a group home for runaways at one point. And from 17 to 18 years old, I was doing court ordered community service at my local library. And this is like somewhere my dad took me growing up. Right. So when they said, oh, you have to do some court ordered community service, that was the only place I could think of. 'cause I really hadn't been in any other socially accessible space. I still to this day day like love the library and think it's like, like one of our most socialist spaces. 'cause it does not matter if you are unhoused. It does not matter if you are undocumented. It does not matter if you're a low income or high income. You can access the space and you can access resources. No questions asked. I love the library. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
So luckily while I was there, and mind you, being failed again and again by systems, the library manager at the time took a special interest in me and offered me a job when literally no one else would. I was like five felonies in. I was barely turning 18. No one wanted to hire me, not even to like bag their groceries. Right. And for some reason she's like, Hey, you're really good at the shelving books thing. I'm like, do you want a job? And I'm like, are you sure? Because I'm a literal felon. And she went to bat and yeah, I got that position and that was like the first time it felt like I was being cared for. Right. That someone in community was like caring for me and caring about my future and my wellbeing. So she also encouraged me to get my GED. And I went to a local community college and I took a sociology course because it was required. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was like, maybe I'll be a nurse, maybe I'll be whatever. But I took the sociology course and that like broke open my world and changed everything for me.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
That was the first time I ever learned about structural and institutional oppression. Ever. Never heard that concept. And in fact, like I thought my whole life that all the things that happened to me was because I was a bad kid.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. Right. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
That it was character flaw and not a system failure. And that was so liberating because now it's like, wait, if it's not a character flaw, but a system failure, that means I could be part of the solution. So from there on like 19 years and onward, I dedicated my whole life to like being in nonprofit world to especially like promote better outcomes, improve outcomes in communities of color, in queer communities, in low-income communities and in immigrant communities. Right. In a way that's not extractive and not exploitative. Because even if you're in a nonprofit, it does not necessarily mean that you're not being an exploitative nonprofit.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Right. So it really is about the way in which you have relationship with the community and how you work with the community and center community in the work that you do.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
So I'm just really stoked to even be here now as an executive director, which I didn't think was gonna happen. Right. Another dark time is like one, the imposter syndrome that happens, but also the advancement barriers that happen for people of color. So an advancement barrier is like literally just being passed over to the point where you are working under a certain title of a job but doing so much more. Right? But not being titled as that. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
And that happens a lot. You just can't advance because you never got the title. Even though you have all the skills, it's just so hard navigating systems of white supremacy, especially as a person of color who hasn't been mentored or modeled or even expected to ever hold an executive role.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
That was never my plan in the future. I did not think I could be here. So I'm just very grateful to have an organization that tried to break that mold and hire differently. Hmm. I do it differently. I have good work history, I have a master's degree, I have all the things. Right. But you know, it's still surprising how imposter syndrome and how advancement barriers and that kind of internal and implicit racism plays a role. Sexism as well. Like there's so much in there.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Wow. Your journey is so inspiring and like you've always deserved to be where you are now. Like it's motivating for hopefully other people that are listening that may feel like they haven't had a chance and they have been going through those advancement barriers. And I think this goes into why it's so important to disrupt these systems that have created these supremacist models of hiring and promoting. Yeah. Because you're neglecting all kinds of people that deserve to be where they are that deserve a chance to excel, that deserve a chance to be that shift in their community and to be a leader in their community. So thank you for what you do and thank you for getting to where you are. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
And when you say that too, like it really brings up for me like folks are in prison for surviving and trying to survive and navigate a system that was not built for them. I think of how many incarcerated adults are brilliant.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
So many brilliant minds behind bars, so many musical artistic, like there are people behind bars organizing for climate change and advocating for the rights of folks who are incarcerated. And it's like, wow, we really do passover a lot of really beautiful people. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Okay. So let's circle back to what you do currently with positive images.Is there anything that you wish your organization could do but cannot do to the restraints of government funding or your board of directors?

 

Kimi Barbosa:
So our board is made up of community members. Right. We do have, I think maybe one retiree, we have one person who owns their own business, who really had extra time and wanna contribute. And even with those folks, they're members of our community. Our board is 100% queer and trans. Right? It's really important for it to be reflective of the community. And that goes across different demographics as well. So I've been really fortunate to have a board that's values aligned, which I don't think a lot of places are. And that are dedicated to elements of things like healing justice, disability justice, and racial justice. And are dedicated to becoming more accessible to our intersections of our queer community. So our board is great, but I will say the funding aspect I think limits a lot of like regenerative practices and nonprofit can do. I feel like nonprofits can really be a vehicle for change if given the resources and if the status quo changes.

 

Aimee Hana:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
I feel like there's such an unspoken tradition in nonprofits to kind of model almost like the for-profit sector.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
And to kind of bring some of those values into that space and make it feel really disconnected and business-like instead of really human centered. So what I've been really trying to work on is really like humanizing the work that we do and how we do how we fund it.  Right? So we do have a federal grant, we have a state grant, we have some foundation money but the real way to have like transformative to have a lot more unrestricted funding. Right. So that is like your donor base that is like trust-based philanthropy finding. There's so many more foundations that care deeply too about social justice and marginalized community members. So I'm starting to get hopeful. I don't think I would've been successful in this role 10 years ago.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
I think things—things have very much shifted and I think it's because of our community and our generation that care deeply about this work that started to shift even industries. Right? 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
I mean even corporations are trying to make themselves look better with their greenwashing and their diversity. Right? So I think that that's also opened up an opportunity to how do we look at funding differently?

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Federal funding still has a long way to go to allow an organization to actually make change. It's just very limiting. It's, it's like you have, you're bound essentially. Right? There are, they don't give you enough overhead to even pay all of your indirect costs. Right? 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Some things have changed with the federal, with federal funding and that those are going into effect in October. Like, okay, you can claim we're indirect and dah, dah dah. But the hyper documentation that comes with it isso much work that smaller organizations that are doing really good things almost can't even take on that type of funding.

 

Aimee Hana:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
It becomes inaccessible to them. But the federal government like wants to, they're having these initiatives for equity, but it's like, okay, you can have your initiative for equity, but if your process and your procedures are not equitable, you're not gonna get the orgs to be able to actually access this funding and do something good with it. So for me, how do I look at funding? It's like, okay, I am actually okay with not getting those federal monies until they can make a better structure that actually is gonna serve us and the way that we need. I'm not gonna really seek that out. I'm gonna go find something that's really values aligned and that is hard. Like that is not easy. Mm-Hmm. Right.

Especially when every nonprofit is kind of competing for a similar pool of money. Right. It takes a really interesting approach. Like I don't want to be competing with other orgs that are doing such good work. So I've been partnering more with, with organizations and seeing how we can like pull in this funding together on a joint project. Because no matter what, at the end of the day, there's gonna be so much work and we're never gonna fill that need a hundred percent. I'm always happy to like partner up with other orgs who help meet pieces of our community. Right. To just have a more holistic approach to that community. But it really is that trust based philanthropy and those unrestricted resources for money, right. Those foundation grants, they tend to have a little bit more flexibility and they tend to also speak your same language when you're talking about values. Mm-Hmm. And when I think of values,  I'm thinking human centered.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
I want this to be community led. Yeah. We want our community centered practices, our community driven practices that we know are proven because we see the results and they tell us the results. They're the ones helping us build these programs. So we see that it's real. We are having real impact here. And we can have even realer impact if we have more of the trust based unrestricted. So when I say unrestricted, that differs from restricted funding in the way that a lot of these state and federal grants and even some foundation grants say it must go to this, this, and this. Nine items. These are your boxes that you have to operate in and it has to look like this. But then that trust base, it's really like, hey, we know things shift and things change and that you can kind of turn the curve on something if one thing's not headed in the right direction. Like let's be creative and let's like use different methods that we know work in community. So it really is having like let the people who know, I think it was Glenny Martin who said this, those closest to the problem or closest to the solution, but furthest from the decision making. Mm. Right. So put the folks who are accessing our programs at the center. Mm-Hmm. We build from the center. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Right. And these organizations, the funders, whether federal, state, local or foundation, need to trust that we know that the work that we need to do to serve our community the best. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Those at the center of the problems deserve full autonomy over their funding. Of course. Yeah. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Yeah. And over what we do. Right. Like one thing that I wish we could do, I wish we could have more bilingual staff. One thing I really wish we could do is freaking have emergency housing for queer people. Yeah. You could not imagine how many times that comes up. There'll be literally storms outside and a lot of our unsheltered community members are like, Hey, I just need somewhere overnight.  And our hands are tied. We don't have access to that type of resource. Right. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Right. If you had unlimited resources and funding, like what would that look like? How would you envision that?

 

Kimi Barbosa:

Oh my gosh. De commodified housing first and foremost. Like our, not only the queer community and communities of color, like everyone's feeling the housing crunch. Right. It is like something so messed up. Housing is a human right. But if I'm thinking of just, okay, just my org, what would that dreaming be like? Wow. If we could have like an apartment complex, like for queer living Yeah. Where it's rooted in healing justice and there's therapists like on site that are able to just like create this container of just like full on healing. Right? Like where can we organize and advocate outside of this for the community?

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
How do we change these systems so we don't have to have therapists on site? 'cause we're getting traumatized every day. Right, exactly. To be able to go into schools and really shift the learning environment.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
—that's another big point in our community is that our students are not feeling supported in their class by their peers or by their teachers sometimes. Yeah. It's really sad. So anything I wish I could do, I could dream, I could do is like securing safe spaces for students and securing a roof over someone's head so they could just heal. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Let's talk about why this conversation is queer.We're releasing this conversation during pride month, June, right? Like, this is for queer, this is for allies, this is for our trans and non-binary gender-Gender baddies. Like why is thinking criticizing our current structures and formulating new community centered  new human centered futures, why does that represent pride?

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Yeah. I mean we've gotta look at our ideological ancestors. Why the heck are we here? Because there was a protest for the first pride was a protest, right? The first pride was pushing against systems of oppression. And I think that that's really like the root of it. That is the lineage. And that is the history we need to learn from and follow and to the work now, especially, especially when our rights keep getting rolled back. It is like an endless, like endless tug of war almost rights, a pull and a push. Every time we make a little bit of headway, there seems to be steps forward and steps back. So yay, happy almost pride. We center ideological ancestors, we center our ideological ancestors who have not yet even passed the ones who are still here with us today, who are we are learning from and hoping that one day we also can become one of those ancestors. Right? So we understand that the existence of queer people has always been a struggle. It has always been a protest. It has always been fighting against a white supremacist system that normalizes like that has the heteronormativity, that has the cis normativity and that that's not how even nature is created, right? Nature is queer, nature is intersect, nature is trans. Right? So how are we pushing against nature so hard with these capitalistic Puritan product values? It's really important to continue that again, because we see how it's impacting our community. We still see how transphobia and homophobia and racism are hurting our youth and our students. I mean, the fact that there was so much pushback at even just saying Black Lives matter.

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Not black lives are the best at Black Lives forever Black. Like black lives just matter. Right? 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
And there was so much pushback like what about all lives? What about white lives? What about these lives? And it's like, no, no, no, no, no. We understand that all lives are important. All lives matter. But look, right now what's happening? Like who is still being disproportionately impacted? 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
When we don't look at that lineage, when we don't look at that history, we don't see how it's impacting the present and how it can impact the future. And until that's reconciled, we have to continue doing. We still have to continue criticizing structures. We have to continue looking at new ways to go from an extractive economy or an extractive society into a regenerative one. 'cause we are not there yet. And I'm not sure if we will be able to get there in my lifetime, but we will have to get in there if we want our society to be sustainable. And so we look at folks like El Alicia Garza, we look at  This book that I just got from, uh, my current existing ideological ancestor, I wanna give a big shout out to Dominguez. Danny Dominguez over at On the Margins, did a beautiful training for healing justice for us. And I have this book here by Kara Page and Erica and beautiful organizing in the south for healing justice. We look at who are our ancestors who led that path, right? To creating new structures and new systems to care for one another when our existing systems don't, existing systems still do not care for us. And so it is so important to start envisioning how could this be different? What can we create? And that's where we are now. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
My favorite thing about cutie bipoc communities is that we show up for each other.

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Yeah. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
And that is like not a thing that a lot of other communities do or know how to do,  but like in the form of chosen families, right? We show up for each other and I wanna talk about how like that mutual care and that mutual aid and that love that we have for each other, that is a vision for a future that we want for everybody. Right?  Yeah. Do you wanna say anything about that?

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Sometimes I forget how special we are as QT Bipoc. Because there really is like an embedded sense of mutual aid. Like there are group chats with like 50, a hundred people in it. Like anyone needs something. You jump in and you support your community. And again, it's been like a sense of safety, like a sense of like, we have to protect each other. I mean, I think that's even why the Black Panthers reformed.It's like It's gonna have to be biased 'cause no one else is gonna do it. And no. And if someone else tries to do it, they're probably not gonna do it. Right? They're not gonna come and right relation. Before my role here, I was a organizer with North Bay Organizing Project Shadow and BOP, shadow Out movement generation also. We have some awesome movement baddies over there. And a lot of what I learned was the cross movement solidarity, cross movement solidarity is so important. It is really like, how do we interweave immigrant rights with student rights? How do we do language justice in every space that we're in? And while I was an organizer, one of my favorite projects was our San Pueblo program, which is our community healing clinic, where we really created a space for farm workers to get massage, acupuncture, IBAs. Right? Like herbal healing, like freaking meditation. And so that was such a beautiful space and it was really transformative space because for a lot of folks, that was their first time getting a neck massage. And they've had injuries, shoulder injuries for example. Like a lot of folks were farm workers and would say like, oh my God, I feel like a new person. I had no idea like how messed up my shoulder was. And now it's like some of the pain is alleviated. And then to go home with herbs and resources and having talked to healers in their own languages, it's just something that always carried with me. It's like, how do we take this little container, this space, and how do we make that, how do we expand that? If we can create a space that feels like this, then we know it can exist. Cross movement, cross identity, solidarity to create these containers that are safe. So someone doesn't feel so siloed trying to go get one thing  and then not knowing where the rest of the community is. It's, it's connecting, right? It's connection. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
It's that interconnectedness. Right? It's that relational building. And like these are pre-colonial models of Right. Of support. Right? Yeah. And like in thinking about these farm workers and how they haven't had access to massages, like they are like the people that deserve it the most. Right? Like Literally. Yeah. And it makes me think about how colonization has disrupted our communities to such an extent that we don't have healers accessible to us at all times like we used to. Okay. For those working in the nonprofit sector who are feeling hopeless about the limiting agency of working in government funded spaces, what advice do you have for them to take that agency back, reclaim it, alchemize it, and continue to pursue the powerful work?

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Ooh, I I love that question. Ah, that is really where I am working right now. I don't have the answer necessarily for you, but I have what the steps I'm taking are, it goes back a little bit to like, what are those funding sources and having it be values aligned, right? So, so what I'm really working on right now is kind of twofold. One, I really want to model a work culture that is an unextractive A work culture that sees people for who they are and is somewhere safe for folks who, like I'm neurodivergent. And I can tell you there have been some work environments where I did not thrive because the structure wasn't flexible enough for me to go through my waves, my go through my waves of whether mood disorder or whether like ADHD, right? Sometimes I need a moment to go play guitar for an hour and then come back and I'll be fine, right? So it is like how do we create a space where people can show up as them full selves with the expectation of course that like there is this mission that we're working towards, there is this goal that we are working towards, how do we get to it? But knowing that the path to getting to it and accomplishing everything can look different where folks can express their creativity. Someone can be down into the center and say, Hey, we should do an art jam for community. Let's do it. And maybe I'll play by ukulele too while it's happening. Like how do we bring in that joy into the work? Because I really think that having a non extractive work culture feeds the work. It feeds the work even more. And then the other end of that is the structure of the organization, right? So especially the limited funding spaces and how to reclaim your organization. First of all, it takes the leadership and the board or kind of the gatekeepers of whether or not that can happen. So making sure the board and the leadership also have that values alignment of we want to reclaim this so we can serve community better is probably the first step.  Like I said, I'm so lucky to have a board that is very values aligned and with it they want to see this organization shift and change and be more accessible and kind of some ways radical. Right? It doesn't seem radical to me 'cause I'm like, how is being accessible radical? But no, it's so true, right? 

Like we don't realize that how important that is. There are people who see what you're doing and they are like, yes, we need this. So it really is about sharing the stories. So full circle to the very beginning, right? It really is sharing the story of the work that you're doing of the impact that you're making in a way that's not extractive. 'cause again, we don't wanna do like trauma porn, so we have to be really intentional with how we share people's stories. So that element of story sharing, like you find so many supporters. People wanna support your work. People donate to your work, people ask their friends to donate to your work. So it really is like finding those foundations and finding those sources that are values aligned that give you freedom. And also finding that support locally or statewide because people just love what you do. It is that mutual aid, right?  Like when we all come, it is that mutual aid. Some people have resources they wanna share. Maybe they don't know how to come in and support programming. Maybe they can't volunteer, but maybe they have financial resources and they're like, this is how I wanna support you. That's been a fun journey of liking leadership to go towards this reclamation of the work and then sharing a stories in a really accessible way, in a really intentional way to gain that support from community. 'cause community, again, it's, it's that mutual care and it's that connection that helps us continue the work. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
Mm-Hmm. That's incredible. As we close up our conversation, is there anything that you'd like to leave our audience with? 

 

Kimi Barbosa:
Yeah. I'm just really excited to start seeing this shift in social norms and I just hope that everyone joins in and pushes it forward, right? And really remembering that there's nothing for us, without us. We really do have to center those experiences and those stories and have folks tell their own stories. And that should be really who's leading the change. The system that that is right now is not working and we see it. And this is the perfect time to start getting involved in any way that feels authentic to you and just really uplifting communities who have been historically marginalized. 

 

Aimee Hanna:
I love that. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you. This was such a fulfilling conversation.My heart is so full. Thank you so much for all of the work that you do.

Thank you so much for listening to another episode of Remember Why You're Here. To access the transcript for this episode and to learn more about what we do at CIR please visit our website at cinnc.org. Until next time.

 

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