August 14, 2013
Mothers Fighting Poverty: Rhonda Case, Portland, Oregon
Posted on May 6, 2013 by NCC Poverty Initiative Director (NCC = National Council of Churches)
Leading up to Mother’s Day, the NCC Poverty Initiative is sharing a series of stories lifting up, celebrating, and praying for mothers who are fighting poverty and alleviating suffering in their communities.
Prayer for Rhonda: God, thank you for expressing your love through Rhonda to women in Oregon who draw on her to discover their own resilience. Thank you for filling her heart with love of her neighbor. When times get tough, fill her with your grace and courage. Bless and strengthen her family and her work. In good times and bad, let her life overflow with the deepest joy that only You can give. Amen.
Recognized by: Karen Hessel, former Director of the Justice for Women program of the NCC, who says “Women in or near poverty takes on many dimensions. Those of who have had to deal with the expenses of the legal system, medical and other unprotected costs can plunge women and families into near poverty quickly regardless of education and skill levels. We are all vulnerable. Thank you for doing this project.“
Rhonda Case was an educator for more than 27 years. After more than a decade of struggle with legal and safety issues of protecting her own child from serious harm, she felt “called” to act on her commitment to “bring the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence down to earth with a grassroots pilot project in Portland Oregon as a way of transforming our family’s sorrow and suffering into healing for others by working to affect urgently needed social change.” A colleague in Oregon, whose organization won a Gloria Award in May 2012, and has now become a part of Portland” Communities Inspired to SAIV, wrote, ” You are one of those people whose entire life is a contribution to the cause!”
Rhonda wishes to see the issue of intimate violence (child protection from abusive parents, spousal and intimate partner abuse, and all related issues both in terms of protective services and public policy and training) brought to the forefront of social justice and peace ministries in the faith community. Her volunteer leadership in 2012-13 led to the creation of a successful pilot project bringing together faith based and community groups for strategic prevention and healing as a goal; seeking to eradicate intimate violence by transforming the societal structures from which it arises. Rhonda has served as SAIV Liasion, building communities of mutual support for strategic collaboration through “Portland: Communities Inspired to SAIV”. This new collaborative has formed mutual partnerships to protect the human rights of women children and other oppressed groups whose rights continue to be trampled by violence that is economic, social and personal. SAIV, Portland, offers a way of empowering those whose basic human rights have been violated through intentional connections of key community people engaged in preventing and stopping intimate violence.
Rhonda Case has become a key leader to stop intimate violence in collaboration with faith communities and related non-profits through her partnership with SAIV. She deserves affirmation for her bold leap of faith to risk all for the sake of her “call” to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with her God. We are grateful that she continues with energy, intelligence, imagination and love to reach out to those who can share in this work in ways that are effective and may possibly lead to actual employment in her new vocation (as the scarce personal resources she has garnered are tapped dry). Her resilient spirit inspires me to believe that this is indeed possible!
- Thank you to my dear friend and SAIV colleague, Karen McLean Hessel for this beautiful Mothers' Day gift in 2013