What a world we live in. Those of us passionate advocates have been a bit disappointed in the California budget process recently. I will spare you the gory play-by-play details and just hit the highlights. The Lanterman Coalition came together under one message with an impassioned plea to increase funding for services ten percent across the board. We have been frozen for 15 years, while prices have increased over 30%. In essence, our system has lost over a billion dollars by increased costs, additional people needing services and no additional funding.
If you want further information about this situation, you can visit here. Well, we were not granted any funding. Instead, we were pushed off into a special session with no actual deadline and little hope for a quick resolution. In summary: no guarantees for the next year.
I won’t lie. I had a day I was burning up Twitter. OK. A week. I was angry. (I actually had the hashtag #PISSED in many of these tweets) I was disappointed in the system. I wanted the governor and other legislators to know they let us down. I have probably posted over 1,000 twitter feeds about this subject. It felt good to make some noise. I wasn’t alone in my voice, I have been really proud of our community as well. We have made trips to the Capital, wrote letters, sent faxes and even visited some legislators personally. We are letting the government know we need funds to keep doing what we are doing.
Today, I met with a Team Leader and it made me present to another truth. She shared how she has grown and found her voice at Compass. She wa s thanking me for a safe place where she could happen. These are the moments that I live for. The moments I remember how incredible our community can be. This is a truth I landed on: we are a resilient, creative and vibrant community.
We will not adopt a mentality of poverty and desperation. We will continue to thrive regardless of whatthe government does. I don’t know how, but we will. I remember a year we were not going to be paid because the CA government could not agree on the budget. It got down to days and we weren’t going to get paid. I was scared. My team rallied and I had a group of people volunteering to stay with clients regardless of a paycheck. We were going to do what we had to do to do. This is my team and this is how we respond to adversity.
We are a spirited, bold, innovative group of people not solely “dependent” on the government. We will not stand with our hand out looking for a crumb. We will proudly tell them who we are and how we deserve to be heard. And if they don’t do anything about it when they hear us, that is on them. But they will hear us—not from desperation but from confidence and faith.
If they choose to do nothing, we will not be broken or lost. Don’t get me wrong. We would love an budget increase, and believe we deserve one, but I refuse to see only the government as our provision and hope. We will find our own way. Now, I am not absolutely sure what they will look like, but I am confident we will find answers. We will discover ways to cut costs and increase revenues. We will take any lemons given us and find a way to make lemonade and share it with the whole community. My belief in our strength and resilience comes from the Lord and the people at Compass.