Holding Hope Accountable
Cassie Price, CVV 15, has been living and working in Chicago since 2012. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serves as the Associate Director at the Elam Davies Social Service Center which provides drop-in supportive services to adults experiencing housing instability and homelessness. Cassie and her spouse, Drew Rindfleisch, are expecting a new baby any day now! Her diverse background and family history gift her and then us as she reflects on life.
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept…” -Angela Y. Davis
Since leaving the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers in Denver and returning to the Midwest, the power of different communities has continued to ground, guide and fuel me as a clinical social worker, activist and soon to be parent. From indigenous women’s rights in Chiapas, Mexico to the racial segregation of neighborhoods and spaces that persists throughout Chicago, there is a shared human struggle that I’ve found to be rooted in the collective need for liberation from systems of oppression, greed and isolation. As I continue to participate in the ongoing struggle for liberation in our world, I recognize the need within for healing which can only happen where there is genuine community.
What is genuine community? I used to think it was about maintaining a sense of peace and harmony amongst friends or neighbors. The hope-filled and progressive core of me would strive to not make assumptions when approaching unfamiliar people or differing points of view. Lately, it has become increasingly difficult to remain open to those with whom I disagree as old and new forms of violence pour over my friends, neighbors, communities and self (as a woman, daughter of an immigrant, and Latina) each day. I question whether community requires remaining open to opinions that are rooted in another’s oppression?
As openness to others becomes difficult, I reflect back to what drove me to Denver to live in a house with 12 strangers and what has continued to drive me to pursue the discomfort that often comes with new relationships and community. I have come to realize that my motivation is rooted in accountability in the relationships that nurture my ability to have hope and purpose despite the oppressive systems that persist. It is accountability that makes me show up when I say I will show up. It is accountability that urges me to face myself with honesty and take responsibility for my limitations. What sustains me most in the struggle for liberation is this accountability that binds me to my neighbors, friends and allies working for justice.
While I will continue to strive toward openness to others, I recognize the true challenge will be to speak out as a voice of accountability in my community. I can listen to differing opinions but it is vital that I engage in the difficult work of challenging the assumptions of others that maintain an unjust status quo. In order to remain accountable to those who are being marginalized, I must continue to listen, speak out and act for justice despite fear and discomfort—that is where I will find genuine community.