Dear Frannie Community,
Since I first started working at Frannie Peabody Center, the work and connection to our HIV+ community has felt very personal and critically important. Initially, connections were made through close ties with my LGBTQ community here in Maine. But, shortly after that, I came to know other communities in Maine who are at-risk for HIV, and more personal connections were made with people who would become close friends – just as close as my LGBTQ family.
For almost two decades now, I’ve been entrenched in the world of nonprofit work. In this world, a mission statement is a lifeline and our workplace can be the one safe space for a person who has no stable home. Every day our staff and clients display bravery and heroism as advocates and survivors. We do what we do with a blend of fortitude and compassion that can only be known simply as love.
So, it’s with love and with great confidence in the dedicated staff and board that serve our mission that I announce the beginning of a new chapter and a career shift. This transition in leadership will have the luxury of time and thoughtful planning so that the next executive director may continue to build upon the organization’s resilience and achievements these last few years.
So many of us have gotten to know each other, learn from each other and learn about each other through shared experiences and a closeness that comes when people work together to overcome challenges, injustice, negative stereotypes and stigma.
I can say with pride and certainty that there are incredible people doing work that only social justice heroes can do day in and day out. With great humility and conviction, I can absolutely say that our diversity makes us that much stronger. And, once we begin to understand each other more, and come to embrace whatever it is that makes us unique, we will finally be able to stand together without apology, without fear and without stigma.
These past several years have been a gift – always inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, and full of hope and promise as we all strive to do more and do better every day.
I will take so much with me from my time here, I can only hope that I have made a positive difference and represented the organization with dignity and heart. Thank you to every person who has trusted me enough to let me in; thank you to every person who has been brave enough to share the story of their own journey; thank you for every beautiful lesson I’ve learned by watching the strength and resilience ordinary people can display each, and every, day.
Most importantly, thank you to Frannie Peabody – your legacy of love, commitment and advocacy lives on in all who do this work.
May 23, 2019