October 9, 2019  |  Narrative Shifters Northern California


by William Goodwin, National Narrative Shifter, FII-Northern California

FII Site: Northern California

There is a FII Family Member, like many Family members, who you know. But for this story she will remain Anonymous.

This FII Family Member, a mother, joined FII in September 2016.  She completed her journals, participated in FII events, and her group’s activities. All this, while giving back to her community (in the form of social capital), and managed to stay in it for the entire 2 year commitment, plus.

But while being a devoted FII Member, attending FII events, and group activities, this mother was also fighting the legal system to save her son. See if you are a Young Black Male in Oakland, even if you are doing all the right things, you are forced to make choices. Even if you are attending college, and have leadership skills, you gave back to your community mentoring small kids (through the 100 Black Men Program), even though you are smart, happy, articulate, and very thoughtful, the reality of living in Oakland forces Young Black Males to make wrong choices. Once that happens, it only takes one bad move, then you just look like another Young Black Male in Oakland with a gun. The choices Young Black Males in Oakland are forced to make, unfortunately, changes lives. And however unfortunate, negative plus negative don’t equal positive. So now our prisons are full of Young Black Males who made wrong choices.

The fact that FII provides resources to Families regardless of their background or struggle is real to FII members like this member. FII trusted her, she trusted the process. And with her resources she was able to visit her son in prison. It took a six hour train ride, and an overnight stay at a local motel to do it, but she did it every month. Even for only a 4 hour visit. However it is what you do when you love your son. But without FII’s promise to Trust and Invest she could never had done it.

No, this is not your typical story of direct investments changing the lives of the recipients. But it is a familiar story of many families of color. It personifies the benefits of Trust and Invest. Each family knows what it needs to bring balance to their families lives. Sometimes getting out of poverty is the least of things. Sometimes comforting a loved one behind bars, where freedom tops poverty, is all that matters.

We all know someone who sacrifices for their family, gives back to their community, sticks it out for the long run. We know their names, but for this story they remain Anonymous.

The National Narrative Shifters are FII families that want to take the lead on advocating for FII’s approach of direct investment in family initiative and fostering of self-determination and supportive relationships. National Narrative Shifters collect stories of the hard work and initiative happening in their communities. Using FII’s data to corroborate the stories and leveraging FII’s blog and media networks and channels, they are creating a compelling national story on what families actually need to achieve economic mobility. This story was written by one of our 2019 National Narrative Shifters.

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