2019 was a year of accomplishments across all our programming. It’s incredible what can be achieved when youth and young adult advocates, supporters, and community partners come together in support of our state’s most vulnerable young people. Here are some of my highlights from the past year:
- “No Crime, No Time” finally became a reality. After three years of advocacy, Mockingbird’s youth leaders succeeded in ending the state’s practice of jailing minors for non-criminal behaviors such as skipping school and running away. After learning of the its passage, a youth advocate expressed that being part of the process “restored his faith in America.” For me, this moment exemplified everything that Mockingbird stands for.
- Witnessing the growth of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ at home and abroad. 2019 marked the first annual MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ learning conference, held in the United Kingdom. There, our partners are implementing MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ as the next evolution of their child welfare system. At home, state legislators increased their investment. Support for foster parents and stability for children and youth is our highest priority. I’m grateful for the shared commitment from Washington’s policymakers.
- Furthering our commitment to infuse racial equity throughout everything we do. This vital priority is one of continued learning and evolution. As a young colleague explained during a Race Equity Committee meeting, “We are an imperfect organization in an imperfect world.” His insight reminds me that continuous improvement is better than awaiting perfection. In 2019, applying our race-equity lens, we’ve updated our policies for hiring, advocacy priorities, Board and youth development, and external partnerships. I am honored to learn and grow alongside my colleagues in this work.