Monday, February 16, 2009

Can we make opportunities out of crisis?

As many in our Olympia community know and are coming to terms with, the current economic crisis has severe implications on all of our lives. The impacts are not just being seen on television and in other parts of the country, but in our day to day lives, in the smallest, and largest of ways. The effect on grassroots and community based organizations is only beginning to be felt, with most people talking about bracing for the difficulties of the next calendar year. The need for services is up, and sadly, our abilities as organizations is being hindered by our current climate.

At Stonewall, we're saddened to hear of the recent decisions that have affected groups and organizations that we see ourselves in solidarity with, Bread and Roses and Olympia Salvage being two of them. These organizations have meant so much to Olympia, and in their wake, we are faced with the realities, that the needs that they addressed are not going away, putting increased strain on others to respond and provide support for people.

So what do we do when the structures we have trained people to turn to no longer exist? What happens when those structures are not there, while the reason they were created still is?

Stonewall Youth is facing similar concerns. Several of our funders are not operating in 2009. Our disproportionate dependence on grant money has finally kicked us in the rear, and while we have made considerable strides over the past few years to shift this, it has still been difficult.
Honestly, all of us are a little freaked out right now. But we're trying to maintain a mentality, a commitment to seeing these challenges as important to our processes as an organization. In movements there are shifts and developments, and we'd like to think that Stonewall has a place doing work within it. We want to be able to adjust to what lies before us, to think about what needs to change and what we want to build from here.

We wanted to start a blog because we want to connect to our community. We want to have conversations about what is happening, and build shared understanding. We also want to share in the work of how we create community in Olympia and how groups support one another.
Is the internet a strange place to try to initiate this conversation? Perhaps, but we want to be open with people about what we're doing, we want a public forum for dialogue, and honestly, if there's one thing I've learned from being staff here, it's the importance of giving up some old, crabby technophobe ways, and using the internet as a resource.

We love Olympia, and are constantly inspired by what happens here. Please connect with us, share your thoughts, and let's come up with ways to be creative with how we are making change!

posted by Kristyn and Brandon


  1. I love you guys and girls so much, you are precious and beautiful to me. you pulled me out of the gutter and saved my life. i owe so much to you, and i will do everything in my power to keep you from having to close, i promise you that.

    i love you guys so much and i promise i will have the flier for the skate night done by tomorrow.

    best regards and much love

    rowan alexander

  2. Thanks for writing this Brandon and Kristyn. Count me in also for any help and support through this transition. Thanks for keeping the doors open right now!

    much love,

  3. The result of (and may I suggest ‘purpose’ as well) this economic crisis is that many vital and integral organizations are and will continue to go under. With them goes histories, memories, experiences and struggles for a better world. Supporting Stonewall in Olympia, and those where I live in Portland, couldn’t be more important right now… and this is a damn fine time to get this blog going… so big ups to Kristyn and Brandon! - Kevin in PDX