The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu

Dear Friends of Friends Outside:

My mantra for 2021 is “Be the Change you Want to See in the World.”  A former FOLA volunteer, Kathleen Tobin, sent me the following, of unknown authorship:

What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?

What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?

A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw –

That if finally forces us to grow.

A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us

from our ignorant slumber.

A year we finally accept the need for change.

Declare change.  Work for change.  Become the change.

A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.

2020 isn’t cancelled, but perhaps instead

is the most important year of them all.

While still grieving incalculable losses due to COVID, I am concerned that a possible palliative effect of this new year could be a false reassurance that somehow a new year will make our problems disappear.  But, pick a cause, from the criminal justice system, to economic disparity, healthcare disparity, climate change, or a democracy on the edge and scratch the surface.  There is likely at least one concern for which each of us could have done something or done something more.  For example, in 1985, we had a state prison population of 50,000.   By 2005, it was 167,698.  Today it is stands at approximately 115,000.   Average people made this positive change happen by educating the public, unrelenting advocacy, and by voting.

Won’t you  join me in taking a first step of many by supporting and getting actively involved in something you want to change?  Let’s make 2021 and beyond a Happier New Year!

Mary Weaver

Executive Director