My name is Jessica Babcock and I’m the Program Manager for the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. I was introduced to RCF by former interns I met while completing my graduate work in Conflict Transformation at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. By happenstance I moved to Olympia in 2013, began volunteering with RCF, and helped with 2014 Peace Works and Human Rights Day events.
As a new employee, it is with great enthusiasm that I get to discuss RCF capacity building as we surpass our Matching Grant Campaign goal with nearly a week left to go! We couldn’t have done it without your support. Huge thanks to all of you who have reached out with encouragement and contributions!
The goal of our campaign is to increase our capacity for program and organization management that fosters sustainability and most effective use of our Corrie family co-founders. You’ve already heard from Allison and Andrew how investing in youth development and grassroots participation helps make our vision a reality. Creating a solid youth program builds our capacity to support all RCF efforts, as our interns and volunteers actively engage in planning, implementation, and evaluation of our projects – those that connect us with Gaza and help us maintain our relationships to Rafah, our Olympia Arab Festival that shares and celebrates Arab culture, scholarship programs that support students locally and in the West Bank, advocacy and education in Congress, support for the right to boycott and divest, our annual Peace Works events, and more. All of these support RCF’s vision of ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and U.S. support of it, and realizing a Middle East and world where freedom, equality, respect, and security are enjoyed by all.
Currently, and historically, RCF has relied upon a very small part-time staff, and more than full-time volunteer efforts from founders Cindy and Craig Corrie to deal with the “nuts and bolts” of managing the nonprofit. This is often surprising to those who hear of RCF from afar and know of our national and international reach. We aim to develop a structure that allows the Corries more time to address the implications of their search for accountability for Rachel, to speak in communities and on college campuses throughout the U.S., to engage in the networking and coordination so vital to the work being done nationally and internationally on these issues, and to write about their experiences and learning during these past thirteen years.
To do this, we need a clear and expanded staffing structure that includes an Executive or Associate Director, and new funding to support that structure and the goals, operations, programs, projects and long-term sustainability of RCF.
Peace Works was one of RCF’s first established programs. On May 3rd here in Olympia, with several supporting organizations, we will host our tenth Peace Works event with guest Ilan Pappé. In the weeks before, through “Reflection and [Re]generation: Past and Future Works,” we will journey back and ahead, looking at what has been and what can be. After ten years, this program is an example of our capacity and ability to continue Rachel’s legacy in a dynamic way that demonstrates that peace works.
Rachel’s legacy aligns perfectly with one of the goals of Peace Works: To bridge differences by increasing awareness about the issues that separate human beings. At this past month’s March 16th Remembrance we heard from Alice Coy, who was with Rachel when she was killed in Gaza. Alice told us that even in the face of hate and injustice, Rachel had the ability to recognize the humanity in everyone, including the Israeli soldiers in the bulldozer. She never wavered. It’s so important for us to relate as human beings and to be aware of what connects us, while also acknowledging our differences.
RCF has been able to sustain itself at its present level with a part-time and volunteer staffing structure, supported primarily and consistently by many individual donors like you, who regularly make small to sizable contributions. After thirteen years of service to our communities, globally and locally, it is time for the Rachel Corrie Foundation to grow our organization in order to ensure that we remain a sustainable advocate for Palestinian rights, universal human rights, and anti-oppression everywhere. We have built our base, but we can reach many more with a stronger structure that you help to create.
As we continue our present funding campaign until Rachel’s 37th Birthday on April 10th, we ask you to invest in Rachel’s legacy, to invest in the future of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, and to invest in your commitment to peace and justice.
If you have already helped, we are deeply grateful. If you have not, we hope you will take this opportunity to donate now to support RCF programs and our future.