Prepping for a big fight: Sustaining ourselves to lead big wins in this moment

Friends,

These are wild times.

That may be the understatement of the century. For years, ACRE and our close partners and colleagues have been warning of an upcoming recession/depression. For many of us who worked around the last recession, we’ve maintained both a sense of inevitability that of course our system of racial capitalism would be thrown into crisis again, and a sense of regret about how we, as a movement, handled the last recession. Rest assured, this time will be different — in many ways we can control and in many ways we can’t. ACRE is poised to lead this moment, push our country further left, and come out of this recession/depression with more power for Black and Brown communities.

And in all of our predictions about how the next recession/depression would go down (triggered by a trump tax cut? Collapse of student loans? Securitized rents? Tech bubble burst?) we never imagined that the start would be accompanied by a global pandemic of a deadly and contagious virus. Coronavirus has changed life in so many ways. Many of us are adapting to working from home for the first time, spending more time on Zoom than is healthy, and caring for our vulnerable family members and ourselves. This is all aside from the mental toll that this moment takes on us.

People around the world are finding this new reality is quite stressful. Things feel like they are moving terribly fast and will get worse. We also feel like if we take one moment of rest, the landscape under us will change so drastically that we will have lost all momentum. We at ACRE feel this too. And we also know that feeling such a rush and panic is not good for us in the long run. The fight for a better future that we are about to undertake needs us all healthy and ready. We can’t be who we need to be if our stress levels have led us to stagnation or dysfunction.

ACRE is making some changes to make sure that we can all stick with it in the long haul. We have many progressive workplace policies but we’re making these recent changes public in hopes that others pick up this message — and so that you know what’s going on with us.

Starting immediately, ACRE has converted from allotted sick time, to unlimited sick time. Our staff can take a sick day whenever they need to care for themselves or a close family member as they define that. In addition, we’re encouraging our staff to take more breaks than normal during the days. We know we’re not our normal selves and expecting us to crank out 8-hour work days as if nothing has changed seems counter-productive. Finally, ACRE will be closed from April 6th — April 10th. We’re all taking a week off to rest, catch up on some resilience and stress management practices, and come back ready to hit the ground running. We won’t be reachable during that week, other than one of the Co-Directors checking daily to make sure no major organizational crisis has occurred.

These steps may be impossible for your organization, but we invite you all to explore ways in which we can live our values in this moment and take care of each other. We’re all needed for the long haul, and we’re just at the beginning of this thing. In any big fight, you do best when you are prepped and conditioned to take on your opponent. Let’s all make sure we’re fresh and ready to win.

In Solidarity,

Maurice and Saqib

The Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability.

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