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Finding Bright Spots

Happy New Year SCIVC Friends!

I had hoped to send this greeting sooner, but maybe like many of you, the holidays came quick, 2022 was upon us - and there was little relief from the stress and uncertainty of the two years prior. Living life and finding normalcy during a global pandemic has been challenging, especially during this recent surge of the Omicron variant. Entering the third year of this chaos has left us feeling exhausted, depleted and disillusioned. We are over the constant adjusting and rescheduling, canceling of events and inability to meet in person. We are de-sensitized by the news and completely Zoomed out! Am I right??

However, despite our COVID-fatigue, there were still many things to celebrate! We can find bright spots every day, if we are willing to look for them. We continued to serve survivors in creative and holistic ways, we strengthened partnerships and collaborations, and most importantly, we continued to meet and lift one another up. Our Coastal, Midlands and Upstate regional councils created incredible events to network, learn, and address the needs of immigrant populations. We heard from law enforcement, advocates serving rural communities, and invited folks to celebrate the diversity and culture that our foreign-born residents bring to our state. These "bright spots" have sustained me and the work being done through the SC Immigrant Victim Coalition.

During our Winter Statewide Meeting in December, we got to celebrate Martha Gomez from MUSC National Crime Victim Research & Treatment Center! Ms. Gomez was the 2021 recipient of the Patricia S. Ravenhorst Trailblazer Award, an annual recognition we give to leaders who are doing outstanding work with immigrant survivors. Traveling down to Charleston and presenting her with the award was definitely a highlight - Ms. Gomez's smile, humility, and huge heart made it easy to see why her colleagues had so many great things to say about her. It gave me so much joy to read through all of the nomination forms and learn about the amazing work you all are doing! Congratulations again to Ms. Gomez and all the nominees, whose leadership and commitment have lasting impact on our immigrant communities!

I am grateful to each of you and our growing coalition for being a constant reminder of why I do this work, why it is so important, and how much we can accomplish when we come together. As we continue to support each other in our efforts to improve equity and access to services, fight for justice and systemic change for marginalized populations needing relief, and creating safer, more compassionate communities for all to thrive, I hope you take a moment to celebrate and reflect. This work isn't easy. Our current circumstances have challenged our entire way of life. But here we are - continuing to show up and do awesome things! Find grace for yourself and others... and remember to always look for the bright spots!

Looking forward to making 2022 a great year with all of you! Stay well, friends!

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