Hope and trust, and gratitude for our sector

Written by Vu Le

Hi everyone, this is the last post of 2023. I’ll be back on January 2nd. Normally, I end the year with a lighter article, maybe something humorous. But humor has been hard to come by with everything taking place all around us. The genocide of Palestinians. The US’s veto of a ceasefire. The horrors happening to civilians in Sudan, Congo, Tigray, and other parts of the world. The attacks on reproductive rights. The rise in violence against trans people. The continuation of mass shootings. The surge in fascism across the globe. We’ve had a horrible year after a series of horrible years, and 2024, with the election in the US, doesn’t look like it will bring much relief.

To be honest, I am very tired and on edge. I’m drained, feeling a combination of helplessness at being unable to do much to stop the injustice and suffering I see everywhere, and the frustration of having to battle strangers, colleagues, and even friends and family who seem completely unaware of the nightmares taking place, or worse, justify them.

For me, this was also a year marked by the death of a close friend, whose suicide was due in part to the helplessness she felt at the state of the world. On some days, I wake up in the middle of the night. I look at my kids peacefully sleeping and I think of children similar in age to mine who are buried under rubble.

I was thinking about how hopeless things have been, when a colleague sent me this reel on Instagram. Here activist @jlcreator talks about what they learned from an elder about the difference between hope and trust. The elder advised them to rely less on hope, and instead ground the work in trust. Specifically, trusting in the people who are dedicated to doing the right things, who are committed to undoing systems of injustice.

I know we’ve always said that hope is a discipline, something we must be intentional about. I still believe in that; I’m not giving up on hope. But I appreciate this idea of trusting in those who are steadfast in the face of injustice. The last two months in particular I have witnessed the courage of so many. Journalists, healthcare workers, humanitarian aid workers. Those who risk their safety and livelihoods to speak up against injustice. While there has been an unbearable amount of pain and suffering in the world, there have also been extraordinary instances of strength, bravery, and integrity.

Read full article here.

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About the author

Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the former Executive Director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.

Vu’s passion to make the world better, combined with a low score on the Law School Admission Test, drove him into the field of nonprofit work, where he learned that we should take the work seriously, but not ourselves. There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it. He is going to do that, with the hope that one day, a TV producer will see how cool and interesting our field is and make a show about nonprofit work, featuring attractive actors attending strategic planning meetings and filing 990 tax forms.

Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com.