Last week, we kicked off the first of seven listening sessions throughout the Bay Area in West Contra Costa, joining with residents, community leaders and public officials from Richmond, San Pablo, Martinez, Pinole, Hercules, El Cerrito and more.
We were heartened by the large turn out, the energy that filled the room, and the conversations that unfolded as we gathered together to dig into the lived experiences and stories of the families and children who live, work, and play in the region; to dig into the hard truths of how for far too many, opportunity for a great life feels out of reach, and a zip code defines too many aspects of our families’ futures.
There were several consistent themes that ran throughout the day. We heard that there were many assets in the community were strong building blocks for positive community change. We heard a consistent refrain that children and their families should be at the center of any effective and long lasting efforts. We heard that partnerships were essential in achieving our collective goals. We heard that jobs, affordable housing, a great education, and programs for youth are top of mind.
Collectively, these listening sessions are an important part of setting the course for our work at The San Francisco Foundation in the short and long term. For our work to be effective, it must be grounded in community, in the voices and lived experiences of the residents. We look forward to our ongoing partnership, for the many conversations to come, and the work that we will do together to build a more equitable region.