Some History and Habitat
I was looking for some “blog inspiration” and as I was thinking about what to write about this month, I remembered that most months have some sort of significance in history, a theme or a “day of celebration”. For example, every year we celebrate “World Habitat Day” in October (look for that plug in a few months!) so I wondered what happens every year in August that relates to what we do in Family Services at Habitat.
When I did an initial “Google Search” of what theme August had, not much came up. But what did come up is that on this day, August 13, in 1818, a strong woman leader and activist was born, Lucy Stone. Lucy Stone was a woman who worked hard and spent her life striving for women’s rights and in 1869 she helped to form the American Woman Suffrage Association. This organization, in partnership with others, worked hard to achieve the goal of amending the U.S. Constitution to give women the right to vote. Women were oppressed so they came together to advocate for women’s rights throughout the nation and diminish this oppression. They believed that women had the same right to freedom as men did and fought together to demonstrate that everyone should have equal rights regardless of whether or not they were a man or a woman.
Learning this reminded me that at Habitat we believe that all families have the right to a stable, decent, affordable place to call home and that owning a home is the foundation in increasing a family’s wealth and financial stability and I wanted to share a family story.
I recently heard a family share their story of how they moved to the US from Somalia and it was riddled with challenges and successes, even a high school love story. The two parents of the family met when they were young, married and then decided to leave Somalia because of civil war. In order to do this they had to leave in a ship designed for cargo, not people, and travel to a refugee in Kenya. Because of the conditions of that ship and the number of people who were on board, many people got sick, starved or died before reaching Kenya.
From there more difficulties were faced as the two strived to move to the United States. They fought hard together for their family to reach a country where they believed opportunity, safety and stability awaited them. They desired a better life for their children.
When Ali received the diversity visa he was very excited. His wife didn’t get one at the same time so he had to travel alone. He moved to the US and he faced new challenges. He had to learn a new language, navigate a new financial system, deal with racism and a new form of oppression, but he continued to fight through it for his family. He was able to go to school, get a job and eventually move his family to Minnesota to be with him so they could make a better life. Throughout each step in their journey they have had to fight and work hard to reach the next step.
Now they are buying a Habitat house and this home means stability and safety to them. They believe that they have achieved the American Dream. And we believe that because they will have housing stability, they will have the opportunity to reach financial stability, higher education outcomes and see improvements in their health.
Lucy Stone and her women colleagues strived to make things more equitable for women during the 1800s and succeeded in reaching a major milestone in women’s rights. TC Habitat is partnering with families throughout the metro area to reach success in families having stable housing and financial security. By working together we can make an impact on our community and the stability of families for generations to come.
By Cristen Incitti