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A Desperate Plea for Creativity

I tried to help a woman find safety.

In fact, a team of staff tried to help a woman in need today. She was attempting to escape an abusive partner in a powerful position and was struggling to figure out how to safely escape the city without being spotted by the several friends and colleagues that he had arranged to “keep watch” over her movements. In case you are wondering if he had reason to control her movements, she wasn’t taking kids or stuff with her. She was just a woman on her own, trying to get out of a bad situation and into a safe one. She just wanted to be safe. And a team of staff and volunteers from multiple organizations struggled to help.

As Election Season kicks into high gear – conventions, political ads, phone calls, and mailers – I am acutely aware that this woman should be the topic of discussion. Budgets need to be balanced. Resources need to be managed. I get it. I also realize that there is a woman out there, running around the city, just trying to find a safe place.

I’ve called housing shelters, domestic violence shelters, service providers, and more for hundreds of miles and get the following responses:

  1. “Sorry. We’re full. You can try calling back tomorrow.”
  2. “Sorry. We’re full and we have a six week waiting list.” (Mental note – plan my emergency at least six weeks out.)
  3. Answering machine recordings stating, “No counselors are available right now. Please try back later.”

The quest to meet basic needs creates the false impression that it should be easy. I mean, we call them “basic needs.” They aren’t complex needs or complicated needs or difficult needs. They are Basic. As in elementary, essential, primary, key, fundamental. You know… Basic.

Maybe we need to bring back some 2012 version of the Underground Railroad so that individuals can enjoy that basic right to safety?

I charge all of us – me, you, and everyone who wants our votes – to get creative. Don’t just scrap basic needs. Let’s find a way to provide them. Our citizenry isn’t any less deserving of basic needs. And none of us should have to pay for someone else’s project with our life.

Ifeoma Aduba, AWP Director of Public Advocacy

 On May 3, 2012, the Membership of AWP adopted a Values Statement. This underlying set of core beliefs help to define AWP and AWP’s work. It guides AWP’s behavior and shapes the strategies that are pursued in the face of both challenges and opportunities. AWP values creativity. AWP encourages the creation of meaningful new ideas, interpretations, and rules.

How will you be creative?

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