Love Your Neighbor seems very appropriate for NCALL’s theme for 2020. It has been a challenging year for so many of us – our neighbors, our customers, our organization, and ourselves. During this year NCALL’s Board approved our 5-Year Strategic Plan and adopted a new mission statement: Strengthen Communities through Housing, Lending and Education. A fitting mission given that we strengthen communities by providing essential services to our many neighbors.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc on the finances and well-being of countless lives, we loved our neighbors. NCALL staff rallied to assist over 200 Delaware households apply for rental assistance totaling more than $300,000 from the Delaware Housing Assistance Program. Our foreclosure prevention counselors aided families in applying for Delaware mortgage assistance and within two months, $135,000 was disbursed to 27 households. In addition, the Loan Fund offered 90-day payment deferrals of principal and/or interest to all borrowers and 12 borrowers utilized this assistance.
We are reminded to Love Your Neighbor as our country sees racial injustice occurring again and again. We are outraged and hear the call to help build a path to racial equity by advocating for social and policy changes and fighting racism. As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
At President Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Amanda Gorman reminded us all to Love Our Neighbor as she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” ‘We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.’ She revealed to us a way forward by loving our neighbors - - to work on what stands before us and to resolve our differences so that racial, cultural, religious, gender, age and other attributes enrich our country. ‘If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright…For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.’
So, be the light and Love Your Neighbor.
Karen B. Speakman