I find the annual Forum on Justice & Opportunity extremely valuable because it gives a larger context for ECS’s work in the Philadelphia area. Each year, national thought leaders come together to speak about their specific area of expertise, whether ending the benefits cliff or becoming aware of how words and phrases we take for granted negatively affect others.
This phenomenon, microaggression, is a concept first introduced to me at the 2018 Forum by Dr. Derald Wing Sue. I had no idea that word was in such common usage until I overheard a couple of eleven-year-old students discussing it at an elementary school where I was volunteering. What I learned at the ECS Forum helped me to serve others better.
Last year, due to the pandemic, the Forum was held online. I was surprised to find this has an upside—it allows the program to be spread out, an hour or two a day for a week—enabling participants to attend more sessions and not choose between several on the same day. Either way, whether in person or online, the Forum is thought-provoking and inspiring for the critical work ECS does to alleviate intergenerational poverty. It makes me proud to be a member of the ECS Board.