Dear CFJC members, partners, and supporters:
2015 has been a year of change at CFJC, and I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about where CFJC is at now. You may have noticed that we did not publish a September newsletter—that is just one of the small changes. Our newsletters will now be published on a bi-monthly basis. The biggest change for CFJC is that our fearless leader, Executive Director Y. Armando Nieto, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in the spring. This has required him to take a medical leave of absence and therefore, he has not been working with us since his diagnosis. Armando remains committed to CFJC, but it is clear that he will have a much different role when he returns in April next year. Another big shift happened this summer when our ‘spirited’ Policy Specialist, Jessy Gill, moved back to the East Coast. Jessy and I began internships at CFJC a week apart from each other in September 2011. Over the years we shared a lot of great experiences, had many talks and learned about food justice, politics, and social change. Of course, I miss having her as my office roommate, but I’m also excited about the work she’s doing with World Farmers in Massachusetts, where she also continues to be part of the GOAT process.
All of these circumstances have meant that I had to step up to lead the organization while we’re this transition phase. I won’t lie, it’s been difficult, intimidating, and stressful. But more than all of that it’s been rewarding. I’ve pushed myself farther than I initially thought I could go, and people around me have been supportive and understanding. I want to give a special shout-out to the awesome interns who’ve supported CFJC through our transition, and who have been a huge support in helping me manage our workload. For setting up our Public Policy Calls, leading our social media, helping develop our newsletter, working on our website, and developing fund appeals and proposals—Chris, Cassie, Anna, Grania, Ashlee, and Claudia, thank you!
CFJC’s work has been far reaching. From our coordination and facilitation of the GOAT process, our involvement with the California Food Policy Council, local Bay Area food policy councils, the Oakland Climate Action Coalition and the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, our work with Local Health Departments across California, Oakland-based Growing Equity from the Ground Up, the All-in: New War on Poverty launched by Alameda Board of Supervisor Wilma Chan, the Cromartie family’s project in San Francisco, the California Environmental Justice Coalition, and our work with BEA-4-I (Building Equity and Alignment for Impact)—just to name a few, CFJC is committed to the collaborations and partnerships we’ve become involved with over the last five years.
At the same time, as our staff pattern has decreased, we’ve had to step back from a lot of this important work. But we remain committed to promoting the basic human right of access to healthy food and creating a food system that is equitable, environmentally and economically sustainable, and community-driven.
So where does that leave us now? I’ve been in conversations with Armando and our Steering Committee to begin figuring out next steps for CFJC. There are many moving pieces and more conversations that will have to happen before we finalize the next phase. Two things we already know for sure. First, the Public Health Institute is no longer able to support our employment at present because of a lack of current funding so we are in talks with other nonprofit organizations about fiscal sponsorship. The other thing of which we are sure is the support of at least two Bay Area Foundations, once we do finalize plans for CFJC. But new funding is not forthcoming until next year, which is why we need to ask for your help, now.
Personally, to better prepare myself for the future with CFJC I began a Master of Public Affairs program at the University of San Francisco this fall. I’ll remain working at CFJC at least part-time throughout my two-year program. I’m excited about this opportunity because it will further develop me as a leader by enhancing my skills in organizing and advocacy, and effective communications for policy gains and movement building.
On behalf of Armando and CFJC staff, the Steering Committee, and our members I want to thank everyone for your continued support. And please, if you’re able, make a donation today to help support us through this transition.
CFJC, Program Manager