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Message of Solidarity

Message of Solidarity

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. That is why we believe Black Lives Matter. Our mission is to promote social justice and we know that health and justice go hand in hand. That is why racial justice is essential for building healthy communities, and dismantling systemic racism is necessary for a thriving democracy. Our vision is of a compassionate world which protects human dignity.  That is why we stand in solidarity with those who suffer, link arms with leaders to find solutions, and walk the path towards progress with marginalized communities. Vesper Society was founded in 1965 during the civil rights movement and many are comparing today’s social unrest to the chaos in 1968. As the sixties were filled with counter-cultural idealism and desire to change the world, this current moment in time is urgently calling us to transform ourselves, our institutions, our world.  The convergence of crises in 2020 – pandemic, economic, racism – is showing us how all of these issues are intertwined.  It will take a sustained level of commitment and long-term investments to bring about new policies and lasting reforms that will promote equity and systems change. With 2020 hindsight we recognize this country’s painful history of slavery, genocide, exploitation, and exclusion. With 2020 insight, we self-reflect and expand our capacity to understand how this history manifests today and identify our own role in creating a new path forward.  And with 2020 foresight, we envision a new future where those on the margins can fully participate in society, prosper, and reach their full potential.  It is a world where we love and treat our neighbors as we would want to be treated. In solidarity.  This is our life’s work. Miyoko... Read More

A Personal Message from Vesper Society

A Personal Message from Vesper Society

We hope you, your families, your friends are safe and healthy. If you know someone who is ill or has succumbed to this virus, we send our heartfelt healing thoughts to you. Our lives were abruptly changed by COVID-19 and every day we go through a range of emotions.  By now we have established a new rhythm to our daily lives which will change yet again as we emerge from the initial phase of this pandemic. We will be living in this new reality for a while until a vaccine is developed. Before this crisis hit, the Vesper board of directors voted last year to increase the annual draw on the corpus from 5 percent to 8 percent in order to support greater capacity building efforts in the California communities we serve.  Never did we think the economy would be shut down so swiftly to slow the spread of the virus.  But here we are. We are grateful that we can direct the extra resources to our community clinics who are on the front lines serving the most vulnerable people in our state. During times of crisis, we turn to our core values to ground us amid all the chaos. One of our guiding values is compassion which means “to suffer with.” This pandemic has exposed many inequities in our world and has deepened our commitment to link arms with leaders of overlooked communities to work together to create a healthy future. In doing so we are inspired by the words of Peter Ellyard: The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made; and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. We bring back the notion of solidarity, one... Read More

Welcome HealthRIGHT 360

Welcome HealthRIGHT 360

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. One way we are improving the health and well-being of communities is through our support of HealthRIGHT 360. HealthRIGHT 360 gives hope, builds health, and changes lives for people in need. They do this by providing effective and compassionate medical, dental, mental health, and addiction treatment, as well as reintegration services for people coming out of prison. HealthRIGHT 360 believes that every individual deserves quality health care. Seven core values serve as the foundation for the organization’s commitment to meeting growing demand and improving access to services. These values are: Patient-Centered Care, Comprehensive and Integrated Care, Evidence-Based Care, Judgment-Free Care, Community-Based Care, Meaningful Care, and Efficient Care. The organization was formed out of the growing need for integrated safety net services for overlooked communities. In 2011, two groundbreaking and historic San Francisco providers – Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, the first free nonsectarian medical clinic in the country, and Walden House, a residential mental health and substance abuse treatment center – came together to form HealthRIGHT 360. HealthRIGHT 360 has continued to expand by welcoming other California programs as part of their organization. These include Asian American Recovery Services, Women’s Recovery Association, Rock Medicine, Lyon-Martin Health Services, North County Serenity House, Prototypes, Tenderloin Health Services, and Women’s Community Clinic. Prior to joining HealthRIGHT 360, each entity operated independently as a stand-alone nonprofit. Today, the organization provides services in 13 California counties and improves the health and self-sufficiency of more than 32,000 individuals annually. Located at HealthRIGHT 360’s San Francisco headquarters is the Integrated Care Center, a ‘one-stop’ for comprehensive, culturally competent health services that incorporates medical, dental, outpatient behavioral health, care management, food, pharmacy, resources & referral, GED diploma program, employment &... Read More

welcome new board members!

welcome new board members!

Vesper Society is delighted to welcome three new leaders who join our board of directors this year: Erika Carlsen, Kevin Martinez, and Sid Stolz. They share Vesper’s belief in the simple idea that a just society begins when everyone is well and respected as a human being. We look forward to working with them to find long-term solutions that improve the health and well-being of overlooked communities. Erika Carlsen’s work in leadership development and training aligns with her life purpose to inspire joy, compassion, and connection among the people and within the organizations where she works. She also serves on the board of directors of Lideramos, a national alliance of Latino leadership development organizations. Kevin Martinez is a board-certified internal medicine physician and hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente Fresno, where he also mentors underrepresented premed students. He recently obtained funding to start a non-profit to provide housing and life skills to homeless veterans in Fresno. Sidney Stolz has 35 years of experience in healthcare and well-being improvement, holding leadership positions with innovate, industry-leading companies. He also serves on the board of N Street Village in Washington, DC, that empowers homeless and low-income women to claim their highest quality of life. These remarkable individuals reflect our commitment to our values of service, justice, and partnership. With their compassion and expertise on our board, we are one step closer to realizing the potential for healthy communities to thrive and prosper. Learn more about board... Read More

Asian Health Services Fights Public Charge

Asian Health Services Fights Public Charge

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. Every day, we link arms with leaders of overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future and help them devise ways to do it. In today’s political climate, that future depends on sound public policy that creates an environment where communities can thrive. (Photo caption: Thu Quach, Asian Health Services’ Chief Deputy of Administration, Programs, addresses One Nation rally.) In July 2018, Vesper Society’s Board of Directors visited Asian Health Services in Oakland, California. Asian Health Services is a federally-qualified health center that provides comprehensive health care to nearly 30,000 low-income Asian immigrant and refugee adults and youth in Alameda County. For Chief Executive Officer Sherry Hirota and her 500 staff who stand on the front lines – doctors, nurses, dentists, mental health clinicians, and many others – carrying out the organization’s mission means fighting for justice in their patient’s health care rights, regardless of immigration status. During our visit, Vesper Society learned about the proposed changes to the Public Charge Rule that would impact immigrant communities. A Public Charge is a person who the Department of Homeland Security considers as someone who might rely on the government for support at any point in time. If you are labeled as a Public Charge, the Department of Homeland Security can deny your application for lawful permanent residence (a green card) or deny entry into the country. While the current rule restricts the use of public benefits programs to cash assistance and long-term institutional care, the new rule would expand it to include food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. This new rule would have chilling effects on low-income families. It is estimated that between 1 and 3.2 million members of... Read More

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