A Love Letter to Dixon Hall

Dear Dixon Hall:

We started our love affair in May of 2018, it feels like yesterday. I haven’t seen you for some time. Well to be accurate, I haven’t truly seen all of you for some time. I regret what the pandemic has done to our relationship and the distance it put between us throughout the past two years, I’ve missed frequently seeing all the places where you exist for me, and all the spaces and opportunities for connections that you create in my world and the ways in which you help so many people. I have always been amazed by all that you are able to accomplish and how many people you support every day. Is that what it’s like to be a true non-profit and remain focused on your mission? I maybe never said it enough, but I appreciate you.

I know it has not always been easy for us to accomplish everything we wanted to, in the short period of time we had together -- yet so much has happened! We’ve grown immensely and started so many new initiatives together. You taught me what it feels like to commit and have your whole heart invested in something. I won’t sugar coat it; you’ve made my heart ache, you’ve made me feel things I never imagined and best of all, you’ve made my heart burst with joy from the success and progress we’ve accomplished together. The perseverance and strength you’ve shown (peer workers, our clients turned program supporters and volunteers, our stalworth community members that never forget to show up), can, on any given day bring you to your knees. Our relationship was not for the faint of heart. There is tragedy in our community. There is pain, there is fear, trauma, violence, isolation and alienation. The pandemic compounded the good as well as the bad for a great many who live every day without privilege. Yet you remained strong, we remained strong, and our relationship improved in spite of how hard things were and because of that we were able to ease and quell some of the pain, alleviate the violence and give comfort to those feeling alienation and isolation. You always focused on how you could help. Stop. Improve things…and the food!!! What solace and friendship was found in the meals you created with so much love!

It won’t be too long before we see each other again, how could I stay away? I know I am the one leaving and not everyone understands just how hard it is to be you and keep your identity and focus in a changing and challenging world where you are asked to be so many things for so many different people. I hope our short time together was memorable, I know it was for me. I hope you find what you are searching for and that you won’t ever feel alone. In the interim, you’re in good hands, so no need to worry. You opened my eyes to what it means to live in and support community and be there for those who need you most.  I’ll let others know just how special you are (that’s easy) and if they ever want to lose their heart to something, that they can lose it here. There are no regrets, thank you for everything.

Love Mercedes