Screen capture from the online petition

Erika Chavarria has created the following online petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/columbia-community-care-peace-justice-center

Since March of 2020, Columbia Community Care has been operating donation distribution sites and food pantries to deliver food to community members all over the county. We are extremely grateful for all of the support that we have received since March. We extend a very special thank you to our Facebook Group members, consistent financial supporters, and the many invaluable people that have served as resources and have helped us each and every step of the way.

There are needs in our community that extend far beyond the needs of just physical survival. If we only focus on basic needs of survival, we have failed our neighbors and ourselves. As educators, we know the importance of creating safe spaces for mental, emotional well being and healing. We must provide spaces for development of essential skills, in depth learning and critical thinking. All of this is necessary so that our young people and communities not only survive, but thrive and prosper to their fullest potential.

We are excited to begin our journey to take Columbia Community Care to the next level by seeking to expand to a brick and mortar space in Columbia, specifically in the Wilde Lake community, to be called Columbia Community Care Peace & Justice Center (CCCPJC). The mission of the CCCPJC is to create a restorative, innovative and essential safe space where the community participates in mutual aid and understanding.

This petition is to support the creation of Columbia Community Care Peace & Justice Center. As we think about how we can continue to best serve our community, it is apparent that a physical space inclusive of relevant and innovative educational programming, workforce and personal development opportunities, and health and wellness meets the true needs of the community. To ensure that our efforts are sustainable and make a long-lasting impact, we have assembled a core team of dedicated professionals to create a model for a community center that will not only help us to continue our food distribution and pantries, but change the future for so many young people who may otherwise be overtaken by the struggles that come from systemic inequities. We have chosen to take a holistic approach to addressing the clear and drastic disparities so many of our community members face on a daily basis. Columbia Community Care’s core team is made up of master educators who have experienced first hand what biases and a lack of compassion can do to students and families. We know that crime, poverty, and poor health are byproducts of insufficient education and a lack of opportunity. This is why our community center is necessary. We seek to wrap our arms around our community and ensure that people have resources and knowledge to lead healthier and more enriching lives. Community centers change lives, and our community deserves this opportunity and resource.

We will lead with love, strength, compassion, with respect for human dignity at the center of all we do. We ask for your support as we embark on this new and exciting journey! Thank you!

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As of this post there are 109 people that have signed this online petition.

Scott E

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