Rock Stars of Social Justice Unite!

We’re fast approaching HDC’s Celebration on March 29.

By Marty Kooistra, Executive Director

I’m absolutely thrilled that this year’s HDC Celebration will feature a keynote by author and activist Jonathan Kozol. Summarizing Mr. Kozol’s awards, honors, passions, and achievements of the last few decades would require, at the very least, a full article of its own.

Suffice it to say there’s no one with a deeper understanding of, and concern for, the issues at the nexus of poverty, homelessness, diversity, equity, and education than Jonathan Kozol. What could possibly be more relevant to the mission of HDC members and to HDC’s recent Housing and… programming? Jonathan Kozol is truly one of the rock stars of social justice. And this is truly not an event you want to miss.

After each annual celebration, I ask our board if we’ll be doing another luncheon the following year. When the answer comes back a strong Yes!, I ask a follow up question as to what the event’s purpose should be. Is it:

  1. A celebration of the success of our members, or
  2. A time of education and inspiration, or
  3. A chance to network and catch up, or
  4. An opportunity for elected officials to interact with and sense the breadth of the movement, or
  5. A way to raise some needed resources?

And last year, each of these options generated a lot of enthusiasm. That’s a big mandate. But it’s one your little but mighty HDC staff, and incredibly dedicated event committee, took to heart. I promise you they’ve pulled together a program that will meet all five of those objectives and build on the great momentum from our popular Housing and… Series.

I have heard from many of you who have had the opportunity to hear Jonathan Kozol speak, or who have read one of his many award-winning books. Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America was my own introduction to his work, and it came at a critical juncture in my life, when I was transitioning from running my construction business to studying social work and political science. The book had a profound and lasting impression on me, as it did on so many of you.

We’re expecting to be at capacity for this event, so if you haven’t registered, please do so right away. Hope to see you at the Washington State Convention Center on Tuesday, March 29!

“But it is not enough to say that this is not a ‘temporary’ crisis: Congressional research indicates that it is likely to grow worse. The House Committee on Government Operations noted in April 1985 that, due to the long advance-time needed for a federally assisted housing program to be terminated, the United States has yet to experience the full impact of federal cuts in housing aid. ‘The committee believes that current federal housing policies, combined with the continuing erosion of the private inventory of low-income housing, will add to the growth of homelessness.’ The ‘harshest consequences,’ the committee said, are ‘yet to come.’” (Jonathan Kozol, Rachel and Her Children).