KAIROS is NOT going away
I want to reach out to you with solidarity and hope in these perilous times. We send each and every one of you our strength and commitment to weather this crisis together with our eyes and actions clearly focused on those who are most vulnerable.
Some of you might remember this picture. Caroline, our current Human Resources Advisor, is sporting an iconic t-shirt about a KAIROS-specific crisis, in 2009, when the government of the day defunded us to the tune of $7 million. This cut had a devastating impact on our global partners and our shared work of justice. But many of you spoke out, we came together, our partners offered solidarity back to us, and we survived to continue our vital work of ecological justice and human rights.
The current crisis is much deeper and goes far beyond KAIROS. It is a crisis for you and for me and for the whole world. Everyone from families to small business to charities to global partners are feeling the impact. Fear and anxiety abound. Health concerns are rightly paramount. And KAIROS is not immune.
I believe we will get through this. And in this very moment, I want you to know that “we are NOT going away.” Yes, we have closed our Toronto and Ottawa offices, and, yes, we have suspended in-person programming. We have done this to keep safe our staff, our networks and all those who participate in our programs. But, as for the work of ecological justice and human rights, as for the solidarity with Indigenous and migrant communities and global partners – we are not going away.
Our staff are working from home and can be reached via their email addresses during normal working hours. Please see the staff directory.
As we readjust our work, we are staying focused on supporting communities and advocating for the most vulnerable. We have been in intense communication with government and global and local partners. We continue to advocate for change in these sobering realities including working for justice for Indigenous peoples. As another example, please see this article on the challenges facing migrant workers and refugees at this unprecedented moment. Thanks to Connie Sorio, Migrant Justice Program Coordinator, for expressing our core message: “This isn’t the time to distinguish between migrant workers, regular Canadians, and refugees. Regardless of status, people need to be united in this difficult and challenging time.”
We will soon share messages and updates from our global partners. These messages contain expressions of hope that the commonalities of this crisis will strengthen connections to each other and motivate bolder common action for the sake of the health and wellbeing of humanity and the planet. But they also hold concern that the pandemic is exposing and magnifying inequities, vulnerabilities and conflicts, and in some cases being used to mask and increase ongoing human rights abuses, including violence against women.
To ground and shape our continued advocacy, we want to reach out with opportunities for virtual engagement. Whether it be spiritual grounding or activist training, we will host weekly opportunities for you to connect.
On Thursdays at 3:00 pm Eastern, myself or Shannon Neufeldt, Member Relations and Networks Coordinator, will host a Bible Study on a justice theme, reading the text together in context. Join us at: https://zoom.us/j/750313825.
On Tuesday, March 31 at 3:00 pm Eastern, join Connie Sorio to get an update on the situation for migrant workers and undocumented persons, including what you can do to help. The link for Tuesday, March 31 is: https://zoom.us/j/912318461.
Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels for other conversations and learning opportunities on other themes in subsequent weeks.
Most importantly, let us know how we can support you. How can we ensure that your education and advocacy for justice continues in new ways in this most critical time? If you have specific ideas of how we can best enable your vital activism and right relations work in community, please let us know.
We are thinking about you and hope you stay healthy. We see the suffering this crisis is creating and recognize the inequities that this virus exploits. Our pledge is to keep working with you, in powerful and creative ways, to make a difference in lives and communities around the globe. We treasure any way you can support us—through donations, through action. With your help, the movement that is KAIROS, that responds to crisis with possibility and transformation, is not going away.
Keep close through voice and heart.
We are with you,
Jennifer Henry, Executive Director