Repair often participates in short-term projects, conversations, or advocacy efforts consistent with any area of our broader social justice mission. However, in any given time period, we prioritize the majority of our programming within specific thematic areas. Our current priority areas are indicated below, and will remain central to our agenda at least through 2021.
Trauma, Healing and Health: Within this priority area we advance public dialogue, community-building, and training opportunities for service providers, as well as for laypeople and community members. In any project we take on within this area, we start with the question “How can we support people in learning or expanding their capacities to heal themselves and others?” We focus on the conditions that generate physical, emotional, and collective trauma such as violence, poverty and homelessness, racial inequity, mass incarceration, family and intimate partner violence, exploitation of the elderly and people with disabilities, and labor exploitation. We often work on creating conversations, tools and resources that enable the expression of trauma through storytelling or group dialogue, and also value trauma prevention through policy and systemic approaches that remedy racial, economic, gender, and related forms of inequity and violence.
Food and Nutritional Politics: We approach the issues of food and nutrition from a few angles, including the quality and affordability of food available to vulnerable communities, labor exploitation in food industries, and the overall impact of food production practices on health. We devote much of our efforts under this priority to community-based events and workshops featuring short lectures on subjects such as ingredient labeling, “food deserts” in low-income communities of color in the U.S., organic and inorganic food production practices, farm worker health and safety, and the potential uses of healthy nutrition and herbs in healing from violence and from damage caused by inequity or oppression.
Sexual Violence and Exploitation: We address sexual violence and exploitation as a source of injuries, illnesses, and trauma-related disabilities. We also work on training service providers to work with survivors of sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, and on leadership development with survivors. We have a core commitment to “survivor-driven” conversations and efforts, and approach any work we take on in this area as an opportunity to foreground the voices, insights, and experiences of survivors of sexual violence and exploitation. We are also committed to approaching our work in this area with a “race-conscious” lens, and explicitly engage the relationships between disability, race, gender, youth, citizenship, and sexuality in generating extreme sexual vulnerability, or cutting off pathways that victims of violence need to regain safety and heal.
Criminal Justice: We focus on the health and disabling consequences of incarceration and vulnerability to police violence, including immediate and long-term damage. Our concerns with mass incarceration in the U.S. focus on people who are imprisoned now, on formerly incarcerated persons, and on the communal impact of mass incarceration on families and populations of color. We also are concerned with research and advocacy regarding the treatment of mentally ill persons who are incarcerated.
Civics Education and Participation: We recognize the problem of extremely low public awareness of the ways in which governance works in the U.S., whether at federal, state or municipal levels. Most of the social problems that Repair engages, such as poverty, racism, sexual violence, and mass incarceration, could be better addressed through policy and through improved oversight and accountability in government. While we do some policy work directly, we work from the premise that as a small non-profit organization, we can often use our limited resources most effectively by teaching and supporting communities to understand U.S. politics, and to learn how our communities can be more engaged with government and can engage in advocacy. Our approach to civics education is progressive and social justice oriented, and also consistently non-partisan.
Economic Survival and Development: A range of economic and political analysts indicate the strong likelihood of a domestic and global economic recession beginning in 2020 or 2021, and potentially approaching or exceeding beyond the scope of the “Great Depression” of the 20th century. We recognize the catastrophic implications of this level of economic crisis for all of the communities we care for and work with, and across all of the issues and priorities we engage with. We are presently in conversation with many individual and organizational partners about prospects to plan ahead, mobilize, and mitigate damage in the areas of food, housing, transportation, employment, healthcare access, mental health and addiction, civic response, and educational access. Our strategy focuses primarily on supporting local communities and stakeholders in engaging civic leaders, the press, and each other in early problem-solving efforts through policy, collaboration and “economic disaster preparedness”. While we are brainstorming and developing solutions and action prospects based on the likelihood of escalating economic crisis, we also promote planning and mobilization that will remain useful and timely in a range of scenarios, and will generally contribute to community economic development and alleviation of poverty, racial and gender inequity, and food and housing insecurity.